Since Brendan Pereira, the former Straits Times journalist who is now Group Editor of the NST, won't publish his letter in response to the commentary he wrote earlier this week, Sufi Yusoff has turned to this blog and several other blogs to get the content of the letter across to Malaysians:-
Dear Sir, While the right to publish remains yours, it is my sincere hope that it would be published as soon as possible i.e. in tomorrow's edition.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at the given mobile number should you need any clarification.
The New Straits Times Sdn Bhd
31, Jalan Riong,
59100 Kuala Lumpur
June 26, 2006
Re: Turning to what works best in dire situations
I refer to the above article by Brendan Pereira (NST, Monday June 26, 2006, Pg 10).
Mr Pereira has again chosen to pass comments on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad based on an event in which the New Straits Times did not report on, although a reporter was assigned to it.
This seems to be a new approach by NST and Mr Pereira. The first, neither an NST reporter nor Mr Pereira were present at Dr Mahathir’s press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation on June 7, 2006, yet the NST chose to publish a front page report of the event on its June 8, 2006, publication carrying Mr Pereira’s byline.
In that report, Mr Pereira’s introduction was filled with commentaries and was quite descriptive in Dr Mahathir’s so-called outburst, dramatising the whole press conference.
It is truly a surprise as Mr Pereira was not present and even if he had interviewed other reporters who were present, he would have at least had the journalistic ethics to attribute those findings.
Likewise in today’s report, I would suggest Mr Pereira, who was not present at the event to justify remarks like; “He stuck to a formula that he has used with mixed results during his political career – tossing half-truths and known facts into a mix and allowing the combination to emit its own stench”.
The NST as a mainstream newspaper had not reported on the event. It had therefore denied its readers an opportunity to independently assess the situation. How is it then that the group editor sees it fit to disparage the former Prime Minister by attacking him in a column based on an event that the NST did not even publish?
I am not in the habit of telling how Mr Pereira should write his commentary, but I do believe that if readers are not first given a fair chance to assess a fairly reported piece of news, then passing comments may just make it seem as if Mr Pereira is tossing half-truths and allowing it to emit its stench.