Sunday, May 15, 2011

Home Minister said every paper has crossed the line in reporting sensitive issues one time or another

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein plans to meet chief editors of newspapers on the reporting of sensitive issues.

He said he wanted to ensure that the chief editors exercised caution in the reporting of sensitive issues on race and religion and that they understood they would be held responsible for their action.

Commenting on a report published in Utusan Malaysia recently alleging that certain groups wanted to make Christianity the official religion,

Hishammuddin said: "There are times when the Malay community were unhappy with the reporting of the Chinese newspapers (on sensitive issues) and vice versa.

"It is the responsibility of the chief editors to ensure that their organisations do not go beyond the boundaries set in reporting such issues," he told reporters.

Despite the clarity of the country's publishing laws and guidelines, he said, "every paper has crossed the line (in reporting sensitive issues) one time or another. Now it's Utusan (which has crossed the line)."

Hishammuddin said that it was difficult to control the flow of information on sensitive issues, especially with the emergence of the new media.

"If it (the information) does not make it to the mainstream papers, it will somehow or rather get to the new media like online news portals, Facebook and the short messaging service," he said.