Plagiarism spat – FMT journo told to go
A senior journalist at Free Malaysia Today has left on sudden notice, after a Malay Mail Online reporter had complained last night that FMT had lifted most of her exclusive report about the dispute over Selangor menteri besar Khalid Ibrahim.
MM Online reporter Boo Su-Lyn let fly on Facebook, in a personal posting as well as in a journalists’ group, pointing out the glaring similaties between her prized scoop and the FMT piece. Even though the FMT article made reference to Malay Mail Online, most of the text had been reproduced without permission. In effect, it had been plagiarised.
Shortly after she made known her anger, the FMT posting was taken down, and a commentary piece was used under the same web page address, analysing the Parti Keadilan document outlining the party’s case against Khalid Ibrahim, which had been reported by Su-Lyn.
FMT sources confirmed today that the journalist was told to leave, and also confirmed another sudden departure of a senior journalist last month because of a “potentially libellous” and sensitive political commentary on an Umno leader. It had been posted after a only cursory look-through because of the staff shortages, and the piece was run for a few hours before it was brought to the attention of senior staff and taken down.
Eight more leave, troubled FMT to reorganiseFree Malaysia Today is now down to less than a handful of editorial staff, after eight more reporters and sub-editors resigned this month, just two months after its founding chief editor resigned. Mass resignations soon followed as the chief sub-editor, news editor and regional editor, and a dozen reporters and other editorial staff left.
FMT sources described the departures as “a clearing-out” as part of its reorganisation. They were in the process of recruiting new staff and had been conducting interviews, but all will be fresh entrants to journalism.
In the meantime, the few old hands will try to keep the ship afloat.