Press Statement: 29 August 2011
TV3’s AL-MUSYRIKIN STORY:
ALLEGATIONS OF FALSE NEWS MUST BE INVESTIGATED
SUARAM is disturbed with the recent allegations made during a report aired on TV3’s prime time news bulletin, Bulletin Utama which was broadcast on 21 August.
In the news report, TV3 alleged that a tuition centre in Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur was trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. TV3 aired a clip showing a group of about 50 people from the Surau Al-Musyrikin qariah (community), led by a Mustapha Kamal Mohd Yusof, protesting the alleged proselytisation of Muslims at the tuition centre. Banners and posters warning the tuition centre to not “play with fire” were put up on the fence surrounding the centre.
According to a police report lodged by NGO Jingga 13, no such surau exists in the area, nor would any right thinking Muslim name a surau Al-Musyrikin as musyrikin means polytheists. The news report has since been removed from TV3’s portal, but is still available on Youtube.
SUARAM is concerned that this incident points to an escalation of fear mongering by the mostly government controlled mainstream media by propagating the idea that Islam is under threat. Recent examples of this trend include the raid by the Selangor state Religious Department on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church, based solely on unconfirmed reports of proselytisation; and recent news articles on the front pages of UMNO linked Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian warning Muslims of the dangers that Islam faces from Christians.
A look back to 2010 will show the same pattern of fear mongering in the mainstream media just after the judgement in Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Menteri Dalam Negeri, where Justice Lau Bee Lan held that Christians have the constitutional right to use the word "Allah" as long as use of the word was limited to educating Christians. Several churches and mosques were vandalised and firebombed after the judgement, while the Malay language mainstream media called on Muslim to protect the word “Allah” from being sullied by ‘infidels’.
SUARAM urges the Home Ministry to conduct an investigation of the news report by TV3 with regards to the existence of the surau. If the surau is found to be non-existent, appropriate action should be taken against the news station for airing false news.
SUARAM also strongly urges all media practitioners, regardless of ownership and editorial policies, to adhere to journalistic ethics and principles when reporting news; and not be held captive by the wants of certain parties with vested interests which run contrary to the interests and better good of the nation.
Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar