Point 17 of the Hindraf 18 Point Demands dated 12/8/07 which points at UMNO racism as the cause of the critical Indian poor problems also singles out the UMNO racist mindset having spilled over, even to the print and electronic (and alternative) media.
While in the western civil societies the majority communities in particular their free media community bend backwards to protect the minorities, in bi-racial 1 Malay-sia, it is in the reverse order.
The Indian poor in Malaysia are inflicted with the worst cases of UMNO state sponsored and private sector racism. See daily documentation and reporting in www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com).
As I am penning this piece, I received a call from one Pari who complained that his mother has a food stall next to the Sentul Pasar Market but was denied a licence for 12 long years now. And in these 12 years the police and DBKL enforcement officers extort for bribes from them. The mainstream and alternative media will not cover these injustices simply because they are the Indian poor.
And just yesterday we held a press conference for P. Gandhi who was allegedly given counterfeit Indian rupees by the authorized RHB Bank Berhad moneychangers at the very heart of the International Transit lounge of KLIA in Sepang. Mr. Gandhi was languishing in the Indian jails for 7 weeks and is now released on bail. His passport has been held by the Indian courts and he is stranded in India for 3 months now and indefinitely thereafter at the tender mercies of the Indian authorities.
A letter outlining Gandhi’s plight was sent to the Foreign Minister seeking urgent help. Gandhi’s wife and 3 of the 6 friends who had travelled with Gandhi was present at a Press Conference on 21/2/12 at the Hindraf HQ in Bangsar.
As usual zero members of the mainstream or even the pseudo alternative media was present despite the press conference notice having been sent to all the 50 media groups by fax, e-mail and SMS.
Simply because Gandhi is a Malaysia Indian and therefore not “pressworthy.” Thank fully all the four Tamil dailies not only attended but also reported Gandhi’s plight today. We have taken vote of scores of Malay and Chinese such victims cases reported in the mainstream and alternative media and how Wisma Putra and the respective embassies act on the cases.
Cases of young girls ‘eloping’ to Indonesia, suspected drug pushers illegal workers getting standard in China, Europe, Australia etc., all rightly got extensive media coverage as a matter of course. Except when the victim is an ethnic Malaysian Indian. He is doomed.
Unless of course when you literally put a gun on an Indian man’s head as per our Press Conference the day before on 20/2/2012 involving S. Mohan. All the mainstream and alternative media, some 20 of them came in full force with the full media, photograph and even video recording coverage.
And of course we got top ten news maker ranking in the pseudo alternative media some eight years ago when a stream of Indian youths were killed by police in custody or shot dead.
So the Indian poor have to tragically be murdered before it gets become “newsworthy” a la bi-racial 1 Malay-sian mainstream and pseudo and alternative media.
Or to a lesser extent when a gun is put on an Indian poor’s head.
The role of an independent and free media has to move beyond race. To this effect we had amongst others also proposed the Non Racist Media Reporting Act in our Protest Note to the UMNO Prime Minister @ Putrajaya on 19/2/2012.
The news reporting of the day to day pain, suffering and misery of the Indian poor according to it’s seriousness, severity and gravity by the mainstream and alternative media should be the yardstick for the news worthiness, which has also contributed to the current critical predicament of the Indian poor.
Race based bi-racial 1 Malay-sian media reporting including by the alternative media has to transform into “merits” based reporting to give meaning to Press Freedom Malaysia moving up 19 notches in Press Freedom is race based. Vis a vis the Indian poor press freedom has moved zero notch.
(see NST 22/2/2012 at page 6)
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice
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