Giving obscenity a bad name in the press
On Language, NY Times, 2008
Australian senator Nicholas Xenophon has lodged a police report against Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and the New Straits Times for carrying “vile and disgusting” and false reports about him, and said criminal action should be taken against them should there be a case.
The three Umno-owned newspapers said earlier this year that he had purportedly made an anti-Islam speech in the federal parliament — but transcripts later showed he was speaking about Scientology.The police report concerns Utusan’s article ‘Anti-Islam senator observes Bersih 3.0′ on May 1 after the mass public rally for electoral reforms on April 28.
“I believe that this is an issue that is so serious because by saying what I purportedly said about Islam, it could incite others to violence and discord. These are not my views…
“I find it very offensive that I am being accused of being anti-Islam in a way that is simply so vile. I don’t want to repeat those (words) that are defamatory because I find it personally distressing,” he said outside the police station, reports Malaysiakini.
The three newspapers later apologised when the record from Hansard was made public.
“I accept the fact that the apology was made but this goes way beyond that. Sometimes, an apology is not enough in the sense that it does not take away your rights as a human being to pursue the matter further. I want to make this point: What was said about me was so disgusting, so vile, so offensive that if it is in breach of the Malaysian Penal Code, then action should be taken. It is my way of saying that I cannot – in good conscience – step away from this. I want to clear my name completely,” Xenophon told Malaysiakini.