Friday, April 23

Reporters snubbed at CM press conference

Today (23 April 2010) should have been a happy day for PATA (Pacific Asia Tourism Association) conference when the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud personally opened it at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), but for a small incident that happened before the press conference.

The conference attended by more than 160 delegates throughout the pacific region will end on 27 April.

After the opening ceremony, the chief minister was supposed to meet some 30 members of the Press. While waiting for the chief minister to come, the pressmen had already seated themselves in the front, second and third rows of the chairs. A protocol officer by the name of one Junaidi told the reporters to leave the first three front rows empty so that VIPs could sit down listening to Taib talking to the Press people.

The reporters felt insulted and left the room and went outside. Later another protocol officer came looking for the Press people saying that the chief minister was waiting for them. But none of the reporters returned to the Press conference room. I am sure the chief minister must have felt awkward about the absence of the Pressmen. I am sure the organisers of the Press conference also felt likewise.

I remember in the 1970s when the Pressmen were insulted at a Police Mess function, which was attended by the Governor of Sarawak. The Pressmen were invited to cover the event, but there were no tables and chairs for them. They were told that foods and drinks would not be served to them. Embarrassed the reporters left the Mess function and walked out in full view of the Governor.

For six months or so, the reporters boycotted any news about the Police. They only wrote news that was critical of the Police.

During the time of Tunku Abdul Rahman as Prime Minister, the Press people were treated like VIPs. Usually in his function, Tunku Abdul Rahman made sure the tables number three, four and five be given to the Press people.

Nowadays VIPs, ministers, politicians, government officers and company directors take lightly the role played by the reporters and newspapers in our society. In fact every ministry or government department or big organisation should have a Press Liaison Officer or Public Relations Officer whose job is to deal directly with the Press.

Following the incident at the Police Headquarters, the Police realised the important role the Press played in the efforts to combat crime. So starting from September 1975, the Police started to have a Press Liaison Officer (PLO).

I was fortunate to be the first PLO with the Police department (after the ugly episode mentioned above), and during my time relationship between the department and Press was at its best in the next 20 years.

The PATA incident should therefore be a lesson to all. – The Broken Shield



Chakui Chabu said...

Were the reporters invited individually to attend the function? If not, why should they feel being insulted, instead they could sit on other unoccupied rows.

The protocol officer was just doing his duties according to plan. Was it nice to see if VIPs sat behind the reporters?

Anonymous said...

No surprise here! Gomen of the day dont respect journalist because MSM are all control by them. Journalist of to day only spin what gomen wants ' slave with no rights and deserve no respect'. That is how low journalism in malaysia have sunken.

Fair opinion said...

The pen is mightier than the sword so let those who snub the pen be warned.

Suntat said...

Sometimes pen can land you in trouble if it is not used wisely, for instance `slander in respect of words`.

Anonymous said...

After all it is inside The Press Conference Room, and thus supposed to be the conference between CM and the reporters, and not between CM and the VIPs. In actual event itself, it is Two Ways Channel (CM and Pressmen)- VIPs are just listening. A distant of three rows seat seems to be quite far unless sound system is used. Well, just imagine if there is no press coverage.I salute you Pressmen.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of letting the press people even sit in the first 3 front rows (or even next to CM) if the news reporting is just a one sided story? What is the point to prepare a feast for the press if they don't dare to even ask (what more to say reporting about critical answers) critical questions (i believe there would be no answer at all..) pertaining to so many current relevant issues? Are they really qualified to be hailed in such manner for not doing their job? Put the blame on the organizer? I guess that is why the organizer are not even bothered about them in the first place..

Anonymous said...

most unfortunate. it actually reflects the arrogance of those elected and promoted vips and who should we blame? the rakyat made them. weshare theblame because wehad actually given these people the highest regard and should therefore be seated higherthan anyone of us. poor us. well no doubt not all of them are the same, but mostly these elected people forget that we made them. to all so called leaders, you do not get respect unless you earn them. jaga-jaga the media is the eyes and ears of the mass. oh ya....come election let us use our power to get rid the underperformers. a lot of vacancies as jaga. gaji pun naik. Ybs? (yang berkhidmat)

Anonymous said...

Leave behind this tiny issue. Vote for PR in coming Sibu by-selection.

Anonymous said...

Whenever Taib Mahmud photo appears frontpage on The Borneo Post I boycott the paper that that day. Whenever his image appears on my screen, I change channel.

Rosli Dhoby

Anonymous said...

to chakui chabu
reporters were invited to the function and they were told to go to room 6 where the pc was supposed to be held, after the opening ceremony.
the pc was to be between the reporters and cm and a few vips. the vips were to sit with the cm, facing the reporters. the rest of the vips should not be present. the protocol officer did not know his job as he was new. no reporters recognised this particular protocol officer.