Bernama deaf to torture

On Friday, international news agency AFP carried a story headlined ‘UN team probes custody abuse claims in Malaysia’.

(a) The first four paragraphs of the AFP story as below,

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia was urged on Friday to repeal its tough preventive security laws by a group of UN officials investigating claims of abuse and torture of detainees in police custody.

The officials, on a two-week mission in the Southeast Asian nation, said ‘virtually all’ detainees interviewed said they were subjected to torture in order to obtain confessions while in police custody.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a team under the UN Human Rights Council of which Malaysia is a member, is probing those held under preventive laws, illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers.

“A few indicated they have been beaten up with weapons or tools. More people were punched, kicked or had dirty water thrown on them,” El Hadji Malick Sow, the group’s chairman-rapporteur, told reporters.

(b) Our national news agency also disseminated the same story (?!!) under the headline (%*@# ??!) ‘Malaysian Detainees Treated Well – UN Human Rights Group’.

Missing from the Bernama copy are the rapporteur’s statement that the detainees said “they were subjected to torture” and had been “beaten up”, “punched” and “kicked”.

Instead, we get this piece of candy floss indicating that either the Bernama reporter has a special set of ears or spectacular language processing skills.

“KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 (Bernama) — Detainees in Malaysia are treated well, observes the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The council’s working group on arbitrary detention committee also commended that there was a decrease in the number of people held under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The committee spent over a week in the country, inspecting five detention centres, including that in Kamunting centre where ISA detainees are held.”

(c) Guess which version of the story the Sniveling Star used — Bernama or AFP? The People’s Paper’s online can be viewed here, but do you even have to look?

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  1. […] to read about what’s happening here, try Singapore papers. A recent example, ref. our posting ‘Bernama deaf to torture’. The Singapore Straits Times used the AFP wire agency version, while our Sniveling Star used the […]

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