Media Entitlement – Are You Entitled?
What’s entitled to the media, and what’s not?
This was my most recent crossroad thoughts pertaining two incidences – one in Malaysia, the other in the US
(Note: This is a rare, semi-political piece on tech-centric EITN, but here is the digression anyway)
How it started was when the press secretary of the local Transport Minister had an outburst on social media when broadcaster RTM omitted the speeches of the minister at a recent local event. The press secretary suggested a possible ‘sabotage’ by the broadcaster and lodged an official complain with another ministry – the Communications and Multimedia Minister headed by Gobind Singh Deo.
At this point, me – as a newsman with over two decades of media-experiences, I fumed to myself, “How entitled this press secretary is!” Only to remind myself that since RTM is state-owned and perhaps there is some sort of understanding for obligatory editorial coverage of ministerial messages.
Anyway, Gobind was prompted to investigate the case, and released a vindictive statement (to RTM and all other media outfits) that the SOP of state-owned media cleared it from any wrongdoing, because “…where the Prime Minister attends an official function, then it is ONLY his speech is cast live through.”
In short, media publications do NOT have to post anything they do not wish to, and can post anything they want to – to their the editorial’s own judgment call, interests and objectives, as well as being acutely aware not to breach the country’s various Publication Act and Online Content laws.)
Veteran newsman Kadir Jasin, who is also special media adviser to the PM), said it right that in New Malaysia, the days of ministers’ press secretaries giving instructions to media outfits on their editorial direction, is over.
Funnily, in the most advanced nation in the world (the USA), the American media has not been getting their entitlement in so many ways that we can’t but feel grateful.
In fact, a recent CNN video interview saw a reporter called out POTUS’ direct lie (via his tweet, of course) that writers don’t even call (the White House) for verification.
IT Bytes Back! Says: There we have it, the different incidents that bring up the question of media entitlement – that is reiterated in two points:- 1. Barring any prior agreement, the media is entitled to refuse to put up any editorial coverage and the right to edit for clarity/ space 2. The media is entitled to facts and stats, or the subject might risk being misquoted or misunderstood – again not to the media’s fault.