New Definition Of “Trial By Media” Courtesy of Utusan

by Eyes Wide Open

In 2010, A-G Abd Gani Patail advised Khir Toyo not to pursue a trial-by-media in his land fraud case. He said that whatever he said in the media could be used against him and “The more you say, the more you are going to hurt yourself.” This is probably the first case in the world where the prosecutor publicly teaches the accussed how to defend himself! Malaysia BOLEH!

As incredible as the last scenario may seem, apparently things are more BOLEH in Malaysia than ever thought imaginable!

Now, you can be prosecuted and interrogated via the press as well!

Utusan Malaysia has brought the concept of trial-by-media to a zaman kegemilangan baru. It seems that they are no longer content to shamelessly portray persons / communities / races / situations in ways that damage people’s reputations (sometimes going so far as to cook up false stories). Now, they have taken upon themselves to be the DPP on behalf of the AG.

An Utusan reporter had asked Anwar where he was between 9.20pm and 11.38pm on the night of 21 Februari. The reason was to demand Anwar to account for his whereabouts when a sex video allegedly involving him and a Chinese prostitute was being recorded.

In the first place, if reasonable person were asked a question like that for whatever reason, I’m pretty sure that the response would be “That’s none of your business!” At the very least, the response might be, “Why do you want to know?” in order to find out if it’s any of the other person’s business!

Secondly, Anwar retorted with a very reasonable question: “Why were the people responsible for making the sex video not arrested?”

That’s what we’d like to know too. Since sex videos are illegal in Malaysia, one wonders why 3 people who admitted to MAKING the sex video can walk around calmly. Anyone remember how the infamous flight steward was dragged through the coals for accidentally revealing his private sex videos? How come the infamous Datuk Three can have sex video parties and no action is taken against them?

But of course, none of that matters to Malaysian media. In fact, the media seems to be hailing the Datuk Three as heroes for distributing the sex videos!

This smacks of hypocrisy in the highest order, since many people have made statements about “NO TRIAL BY MEDIA” in the recent past. For example:

–  After Wee Choo Keong tried to urge the Lingam Tape RCI members to extend the scope of inquiry, commission member Mahadev Shankar went to the media to accuse certain lawyers of trying to conduct a trial by media. The media reported this, instead of Wee Choo Keong’s reasons why the commission should extend its scope.

–  When a survivor of the senseless police shooting spree that killed of 15-year-old Aminulrasyid came out to tell his story to refute the police’s lie about shooting armed criminals, the Selangor CPO was furious and demanded a stop to the the trial by media. The media duly complied.

–  When newspapers reported that Anwar demanded to know why his defence team was not furnished with Saiful’s police report, the then Home Minister, Syed Hamid Albar, accused Anwar of creating a trial-by-media. Never mind that the media had been going to town with numerous daily reports about Saiful’s dubious accusations.

–  During the Sosilawati murder case, Nazri Aziz made an appeal that there be no trial by media against the suspects victim of media prosecution and face undue presssure. When asked to comment on news footage that didn’t blur the suspects’ faces, he said that the govt couldn’t control what the media broadcast for fear of being seen as blocking media freedom!

–  Federal CID director Datuk Bakri Zinin appealed to journalists not to turn the allegations of sodomy against de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim into a trial by media. Of course, that advice was thrown out the window.

As usual, the Malaysian media practises selective prosecution of anyone that is even remotely deemed as not entirely on the side of the Establishment.

And with Utusan’s new-found role as Deputy Public Prosecutor, we can only expect MORE trial-by-media.

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