Digital news war. Last month, scores of journalists from Utusan Malaysia left the daily under a voluntary separation scheme. Last week, led by former editors Zaini Hassan, Gamal Nasir and Aziz Sharif, the journalists started Bebas News, a bilingual news analysis portal that will compete with Utusan's own digital paper and dozens other political news sites. Bebas is Malay for "free" or "liberal".
Zaini, author of the political column Cuit Sikit, told pals that Bebas News will be critical, daring and independent. Critical and daring have been Zaini's own trademarks as a journalist of some 30 years. As for being independent and everything else, we'll just have to wait a little and see.
For now, the Prime Minister's mugshot and caption on the top right-hand side of the portal's pages will attract the curios, though: is that little corner reserved for the Old Man to dish out his words of wisdom or are they meant to be a reminder to the PM himself?
Meanwhile, Utusan Malaysia, under new executive director Ibrahim Yahya, is also planing to go very big digitally in 2019, or so I was told ...
Aziz quits as Utusan's exec chairman after 6 months