Malaysiakini: The Mosquito News Portal

“People may expect too much of journalism. Not only do they expect it to be entertaining, they expect it to be true.”- Lewis H. Lapham

It’s a shame what Malaysiakini has to resort to these days just to sell a few pieces. Who can blame them? With only a small reader base left ever since they started charging subscription fees and with more innovative, well-written and not to mention free internet news sites available to us; it was inevitable that this pioneer and award-winning site had to lower its standards to survive.

In fact, it has been disappointing because the quality of reporting from Malaysiakini has suffered so much. The news copies are usually behind other news portals and even bloggers mind you with few leading daily stories of interest.

Malaysiakini is perhaps among the last sites that readers would check if they want to know what’s newsy. Weak content and the stale writing style are synonymous with Malaysiakini. Like a dinosaur amongst news portals in the internet age.

And so it’s not surprising that Malaysiakini has started to churn up fluff pieces like the recent “Fashion War” story purportedly about Khairy Jamaluddin and Mukhriz Mahathir. The editors even saw it fit to make it the top story of the day whilst other news portals were uploading the ruckus in parliament and other noteworthy stories. This piece itself wasn’t particularly written in a style that was interesting. Forget about depth or substance as this was probably something a gossip magazine would have published.        

 The fact that Mukhriz Mahathir was in normal office attire being interviewed in what seemed like an office background was somehow a fashion statement? Perhaps Malaysiakini really needs to train its journalists on fashion sense to know the difference if they are going to cover more catwalks or fashion events.

It’s anybody’s guess if the journalist even read the content of Mukhriz Mahathir’s interview in KLUE Magazine which talked about hot-button issues- after all when you’re writing a fluff piece and looking at pictures how much research do you need to do?

The only thing free on Malaysiakini is the comments from readers whom surely use pseudonyms or nicknames of which we can’t verify if they are even real people or fictitious characters. This compilation of comments is sloppily piled up to pass off as a piece of journalism? Now only this is free and I suppose this constitutes Malaysiakini’s news reports.

The so-called reports that pit one Malaysian personality against another or against the public while a good spin tactic, doesn’t equate with good journalism. This is probably what a citizen blogger would do. But having said that, even citizen bloggers these days are churning out good journalistic pieces as compared to what Malaysiakini is publishing.

This mosquito news portal should also wean away from Khairy Jamaluddin interviews. There’s always a Khairy feature story on Malaysiakini that runs into many parts as if to keep the party going. There’s another Khairy interview on now. Makes people wonder why?

It is true what they say- It’s not how fast you run the race but how long. In Malaysiakini’s case it certainly hasn’t been long enough.

Imran Imtiaz Shah Yacob