Malaysiakini accused of ethics breach

(MySinchew) – A bilingual portal, www.malaysiafreenews .com, Monday took news portal to task for what it alleges as breach of journalistic ethics over its recent article attacking a Malaysian tycoon.

In a posting today, Hu Yan Jiu Qu said, “Just by a mere email, Malaysiakini started their onslaught on Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King, a move that is deemed unprofessional and seriously in breach of impartiality in news reporting.”

It said the Malaysiakini report is based on an email by a “dubious foundation,” (in apparent reference to the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund -BMF).

The article pointed out that, “This foundation itself is a highly controversial non-governmental body and allegations made in their statement were merely supported by speculations.”

Basing on the email from BMF, Malaysiakini posted a hard hitting story three days ago titled: “Campaign to strip timber tycoon’s knighhood.”
In the report, Malaysiakini said,”Two weeks after Malaysian timber tycoon cum media mogul Tiong Hiew King was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II, environmental groups have launched a campaign to strip him of the honour over his ‘illegal logging record’”.

It also said BMF, in a statement emailed to Malaysiakini, lamented that the Queen was “ill-advised by her Papua New Guinea ministers” in conferring the award on the billionaire.

It alleged that, “Tiong is commonly known to be one of the chief people responsible for widespread illegal logging in both Papua New Guinea and other countries.”

Today’s Malaysiafreenews posting claimed that BMF have accused the wrong party of illegal logging in Papua New Guinea and has blamed it on Tiong’s Rimbunan Hijau.

Malaysiakini alleged that Tiong, “has been accused by environment groups for the destruction of PNG rainforests, corruption and violation of human rights.”

Malaysiafreenews defended Tiong by saying the Rimbunan Hijau Group, adhering to their principle of giving back to the society, “took the lead in bringing economic development to PNG with the ultimate intention of benefiting the people of that country.”

It is also due to recognition of their contribution, the article said that the PNG government has recommended Tan Sri Tiong for a knighthood, “but again parties with agenda known only to them have seized this as an opportunity to slam unfair comments with the intention of maligning and destroying Tiong.”

“I would like to ask Malaysiakini a good question, if anyone from Malaysiakini has received an award, and their award was stripped off due to certain news report casting doubts onto the loyalty of your news portal to the nation, how would you feel or react?”

The writer said when there is a serious allegation made against any individual, he/she must have the right to reply and be given the opportunity to rebut any untruthful report, and his side of story should be accorded with equal space.
It said Malaysiakini’s report on the campaign to strip Tiong’s knighthood has denied the right of the person in question to offer his side of story and hence setting very bad example to the profession.

“Malaysiakini has breached the very basic principle of journalism and abused their rights as the fourth estate, and this would eventually would cost them dearly,” it added.