Sunday, January 27, 2008

Paper-Free Tuesday

NO TO THE LIES BY THE PAPERS. For a journalist who grew up in the so-called mainstream media (which was never called that in those days, by the way), the People's Parliament's initiative to boycott the MSM has put me in a tight spot. You see, for over two decades my bylines appeared in the pre-1987 Star, the Business Times, the NST, Malay Mail, Berita Harian. You can't get more "mainstream" than that.

Now you want me to turn my back on my bros and sis?

But then I read the lies that some editors of this day stuff into their Sunday columns and into the news that their papers publish. They condone plagiarism, use the papers to shamelessly promote their own (or their friends, wives, or friends' wives') business interests, and rewrite reporters' articles to safeguard the personal interests of their political friends and masters.

Sure, there were editors during my time who compromisd on their journalism ethics, too. But those who did never pretended that they were fighting for greater Press freedom and never declared that the Press was free in the first place. Zam, our Information Minister, for example, was a Dr Mahathir die-hard and was more effective than any of Mahathir's ministers in pushing Pas into a corner.

During the Reformasi period, the Umno-onwed papers, including in the NSTP, went after Anwar Ibrahim. But in case you forgot or didn't know, Anwar had lived by the sword. When he was in power and in Umno, he controlled the NSTP and put many of his people in the other mainstream newspapers. He died by the sword.

Me, I was not one of Anwar's men and I was not one of Mahathir's, either. I wasn't Ghafar's nor was I Musa's. And I am very glad that Abdullah Badawi (or his 4th floor goons) was not so comfortable with my style - or so that was what his so-called adviser at NST told me as soon as his "friend" had been made the Prime Minister.

So my conscience is clear. As an MSM journalist, I didn't think too much about who the political masters were. I wanted to break stories and get scoops (or at least don't get scooped). As an MSM editor, I defended my journalists who didn't give a damn who the political masters were supposed to be because all they wanted to do was become good reporters. Together, we pushed the parameters so that we'd get a little bit more freedom every day. Some of us "died" trying.

Today, I can count them with my fingers but the fact is there are still editors and journalists out there who are still trying. I write this posting in the hope that they understand why I am throwing my support behind the People's Parliament's campaign to boycott the lies by people put there in their newspapers to advance some politicians' life span.

This boycott as a timely effort to tell people that the lies by these editors and journalists must not have their support. As I see it, this boycott is also a tribute to those journalists and editors in there who are still trying, who are still pushing the parameters to get a little bit more Press freedom.

So here's to a paper-free Tuesday, for a start.

Details will be announced at a:
Press Conference
Monday 28/1/08
11 am
at Blog House [66 Lorong Setiabestari 2, Bukit Damansara, KL]

Go to Haris Ibrahim's People's Parliament to confirm your attendance.


  1. Anonymous1:26 pm


    I respect your guts and you help to create the difference. As can be seen, you did not embark on journalism for celebrity status nor making it rich via political route but you embark on journalism with the passion for breaking the truth to the public.

  2. don't mind supporting the effort but can make it instead for another paper-free date ?

    The Star's Tue / Thu has its InTech which is my favourite ICT read ;-) ROTFLOL

  3. Cre8tif,

    Same predicament here.

  4. Damn it, bro... some people gotta work (and I'm letting u down yet once again)...

    But nevermind... post (or mail me)the details and it shall get relayed thru myAsylum... that's a guarantee!

    p.s. cre8tif & shar101 - foregoing InTech is a small price to pay... plus there's lotsa other alternatives out there... LOL!

  5. Anonymous2:49 pm

    This is not related to the topic, but Suharto died today at 1.10pm (13: 10) Allah yarham.

  6. Anonymous3:11 pm

    Rocky, my goodfella, why don't you go entrepreneurial. Gather all the soon-to-be retrenched journo bozos and cronies of yours at the Sun, I mean the anti-establishment types and do an online paper yourselves, not unlike Malaysiakini but a bit more cerative and imaginative.

    You have a captive market amongst the young and intelligent of this beloved MALAYSIA BOLEH! country of mine and counting some senior bozos who share your thoughts.

    I heard lately the Sun will become just another mainstream media paper soon now that Vincent Tan has taken full control again. No need to tell us what will happen. We already knew what's gonna happen. The setting Sun will soon die a natural death by default just like the rest of the MSM.

    Gather round all your likeminded friends from the Sun for another round of media merrymaking - of the people, for the people and by the people. I bet all the Sun advertisers will flock to your website!

  7. Anonymous3:45 pm

    It had been paper free Mon-Fri for us since...hmmmm..since prices went up ,since news blogs appeared in cyberspace.
    Saturday Star is value for money ..(we need old papers for picking up cat poop, lining the car boot during marketing etc etc...hehehe).And Sunday Times.. am a sucker for the Gambols of cartoon script 'Blondie'...

  8. I stopped reading newspapers since...

    I boycott all the way. My blood boiled when I read them. Sometimes it spoiled my whole damn day. I always hope those editors should be hit by speeding lorries. Coz most people read what they've written and media has so much influences.

    I rather read your posts, Rocky. It's worth it. Keep it up, Bro. Thanks.

  9. Anonymous4:33 pm

    i totally support "everydog ..." suggestion - rocky and friends start an on-line newspaper that gives the MSM a run for their money and one that complements Malaysiakini.

    Can or cannot one, bru?

    All the ayes, place balls on table ... (the ladies place what ahh? you decide.)

  10. Sdra Rocky

    Why having the PC on Monday, if the intention is to boycott Tue nespapers? Wouldn't that mean boycotting your own news?

    I am sure the organisers have their own reason.

    Just my two-cent...

  11. Anonymous5:08 pm

    It's a small sacrifice to pay as compared to our brothers and sisters who sacrifice their personal freedom to fight for us on the street. We must be resolute in our struggle in order to effect change. We know very well how they will manipulate these MSM during the course of this general election.....

  12. Anonymous5:42 pm

    Dear Rocky

    We hope the Press the newspapers to be boycotted.

    The term MSM (mainstream media) is too generic.

    We presume it includes the vernacular papers e.g. chinese, indian and malay papers.

    We would like to follow up with the story.

    Malaysians Unplugged and Uncensored Team

  13. Anonymous5:45 pm

    Bro Rocky,
    Well said Bro.If I may suggest why not you create an online newspaper just like Malaysiakini.I bet many those in the mainstream media will scared to death if you willing to consider such suggestion. Name? I think "Malaysia Independent" will be nice.What do you think? I will support you all the way.How?by being a subscriber.
    Bob From Kuching

  14. Anonymous5:46 pm

    after more than 30 years supporting the STAR, which had live up to its claim to being people's paper those yesteryears, I had stop buying the paper in support of haris and helen's intiative. initially, its like having withdrawal symptoms without papers during breakfast time, but I am getting use to it. readers, do your part and tell the editors and columnists to get out of the kitchen, so to speak, if they cant uphold their position with integrity and honesty by supporting this boycott initiative.

  15. Anonymous6:13 pm

    Aiyo, some of us work in MSM but got very little if anything to do with the shit you angry at.

    So are we guilty by association?

    Howla like that? Change jobs?

    Not easy, bro. You know dat, don't you?

    Why boycott the newspapers when you know what we have today is the result of an oppressed press?

    Why not target the ultimate purveyors of "the system", the Barisan Nasional government?

    Go after them la.

  16. I support everydog has hisday at The Sun 100%

  17. Rocky, now people know why you're my hero. News on line will replace news on paper entirely in the future and you should consider it.

    People want to get the news faster and owners will transfer the money saved on logistics to improve digital technology.

    Traditional jobs connected to papers will be lost but new and better jobs will replace them - besides with education who wants a job as a newspaper boy or seller?

    Some people can't see it but then very few saw the internet coming 30 years ago.

    I'll write for you (as European correspondent) FREE, if you'd have me! Or, (ahem!) for a satire corner with Amir as editor? You can pay me when you make a profit!

  18. It just reminds me
    Of this lorry man and his son
    Collecting old newspapers for a living
    “Surat Khabar lama, surat khabar lama”
    Ringing around the neighborhood

    What then no newspapers?
    Something must be a trade off
    This is business; there must be give and take
    So it can be successfully implemented

    No doubts news are biased in the main newspapers
    The intelligent people should be able to divest
    About news content and damage control stunts
    Performing by the cronies and the government

    Finding alternative news will be slow
    Right now many still trying to go
    Besides not many have PCs or notebooks
    Not every household has internet connection
    So I guess for now newspapers will do
    For those people living in remote areas

    Go for the full measure
    Do it as a business plan
    Something the people want to read
    The truth will save the country freedom
    And her wealth and her gifts to her people

    One thing it must strike a balance
    Of business profits and social responsibility
    And I am sure I will be the subscriber
    When you make it to reality………..

    Tuesday no newspaper
    I think not many will take it
    Not every household has internet connection
    So it will be difficult to reach the target audience

    I don’t subscribe to NST
    I only order Sunday Mail
    And Star newspapers…
    And the rest from internet news
    And bloggers too

  19. Anonymous10:23 pm


    I normally buy all papers on Sunday. I like to read the cars and golf section. I just cancelled this Sunday. M fren say Sunday sale higher than oher days, so I think i better help reduce sale on Sunday..What U think Sir

    Friend Friend

  20. I am walking with you, Jeff and many Tuesday is a paperless day for me. In fact, I have been paperless for awhile now.

  21. rocky,

    you started it eh. supporters are there for you to start an on-line paper.
    seed capital, i am sure there's plenty of supporters. i, for one, will chip in.

  22. Anonymous12:16 am

    Dear Rocky

    Reiterating the first sentence which appeared incomplete in our comment:

    We hope the Press Conference to be held at Blog House will discuss, identify and name the NEWSPAPERS to be boycotted. One of us will be there.

    Thank you

    Malaysians Unplugged and Uncensored Team

  23. Anonymous1:56 am


    i suppose a man has to do what he's gotta do!
    I know it is difficult for you becos of some people you do care for still in NST, Malay Mail.

    Dunno whether they'll understand but let's hope they do.

    WEll.. all the best!

  24. Anonymous8:17 am

    for the life of me, I don't know why the NST journalists (reporters/subs/writers) allow that #@**** to do what he has been doing. he has destroyed the MM and he is making the NST THE laughing stock of the print media, if not the entire media industry.

    how can anyone of them hold their head high?

    Every newspaper -- even the biggest in the world -- has an agenda, has their financiers adn political masters.
    So, why must NST apologise for being what most newspapers are. It is the government that has to abolish all those repressive Press laws.
    NST had always been pro-establishment. So what? But it pushed the parameters, pushed the boundaries to expose corrupt practices, to do great storeis on women's issues, poverty, education etc...
    yeah..those were the days when a newspaper could be a pro-establishment paper and have integrity...
    we all could talk about journalism. We could debate on Press freedom and have credibility doing so.
    sure sure...there was the AKJ...but..aaah.. NST was bigger than them.

    However, under that destructive asshole, NST has ceased to be a newspaper.
    I suppose when you're NOT a journalist - like you know who - and you are indebted to 101 people ,then, you will lose perspective of everything journalistic.
    You can;t even write a decent column. That's pathetic. What;s worse, as we all know, is that you drag the paper with you. No more integrity, no more dignity. And you are shameles becos you don't give a shit.
    You don't care what happens to the paper. You don't care for the staff.
    you choose people you can whip -- as tho the newspaper is a political party or your own sdn bhd.

    that's what's happening to the NST.

    I pray to God your case gets to court....your lawyers can strip them down, one by one.

    as it is, need for the hereafter. I was told time and again that you "di aniaya".
    and the punishment for them is right here right now.

    just look at them. everyone i know, and that's many many, are looking at these clown/nimcompoops,greedy assholes with utter deep contempt and disdain.

    that's why he cannot afford for his political master to go down or step down.
    becos, if and when that happens, he's a goner, man.....
    he's nothing..

  25. You and most of these people in here made it sound as though MSM readers are all stupid and cant think for themselves.(I guess you are right because all these comments point to that!)

    All these calls for an online paper, as though it will be so unbiased!


  26. Anonymous10:35 am

    Cammon, why the f**k it had to be Tuesday ... Tuesday and Thursday i can't lah ... :)

  27. Anonymous12:25 pm

    oh warrior2,

    everyone has a bias. every newspaper has a bias.
    that is acceptable.
    as far as a newspaper is concerned, what is not acceptable is when you shamelessly carry your bias overboard, wantonly ignoring journalistic ethics along the way, and using (and abusing) the newspaper to promote yourself, your political master, business partners....
    editors make mistakes but, heheheh....this one not mistake, man.. this one deliberately...
    this one don;t care for the paper or where it's going...

  28. Anonymous3:02 pm

    There goes theSun. RIP Nades and Terence...these filthy buggers can't leave anything unsoiled.When is Vincent going to die and meet his maker ah?

  29. Anonymous4:09 pm

  30. Anonymous4:26 pm


    No news mean good news...good idea.

    we should follow as what our PM did - the elegant silent.

  31. Anonymous4:55 pm

    A simple, clear, honest piece on the political string-pulling in the mainstream print media, the ethics of your modus operandi as an erstwhile mainstream newspaper journalist, and your recognition of the newspaper editors and journalists who are still trying to hold up a beacon in the dark.


  32. Anonymous5:15 pm

    I am standing with you on this Rocky. It is time to say no to the establishment's concubine media, The Fallen Star, The Staid Times and those who feed on the royal breasts of Barisan.

    Like many who suggested here, I would like to suggest that you take this blog one level higher.... get it to be another "Malaysiakini" of those who have been fighting this battle, both within the Press and readers and commentators like us here.

    I am convinced that it can give the establishment boys a run for their money. I still recall the days when the Star shone like the Sun with Tunku and Dr Tan Chee Koon. I beleive the glory days of the media has a chance to shine again. The cost will be those willing to pay the price for such a conviction.

    Like you, I am using my own resources and research in working on a book about Post-Merdeka. It has been stiring within me like a fire. And I know it won't be a breeze to get it published. In the meantime, keep the flame burning...

  33. Anonymous9:37 pm

    Rocky, if you happen to see Hisham Aun, can you please tell him that my wife wants to hold a p/c for her small business. Can he send reporters and cameramen to cover the event and use in the NSTP group of papers. If he can, I can also. Datuk Manja and Datuk Syed Nazri can ask their wives to hold their respective p/c. Apa peduli sama kita punya kredibiliti.

  34. Makes no difference to me. I've boycott buying MSM since Rocky and Jeff got sued.

    Not a brass farthing.

    I can't see the reason to have this new campaign if we had been steadfast in our support for Rocky and Jeff. Nevertheless, I commend the effort.

    Anyway I still read MSM but for free online!

  35. like others said, this is the right time to establish an online 'community newspaper' supported and funded by its readers; it's high time for an alternative to the state and commercial models to counter the gov-media nexus

  36. Anonymous10:33 am

    i have learnt some english from you guys.why need the papers when there are lies.

    masai jb.

  37. Anonymous12:26 pm

    Read this quote today, and thought it applies to Malaysian newspapers. So I thought I'd share:

    "Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach's 'St. Matthew's Passion' on a ukulele."
    ~ Bagdikian's Observation ~

  38. Anonymous2:21 pm


    I am disappointed with you for not highlighting the case of the Malaysaikini journalist who was arrested and charged for allegedly obstructing police form doing teir duty when he was only doing his job. Two nights in a lock-up. This is CRAZY, man. I was ashamed of all you journalists, the NUJ et al for not coming to his defence and chastising the cops for their arrogance.