Ahead of polls, Putrajaya tells local media to ‘soften people’s hearts’


File photo of the Bersih street rally in Kuala Lumpur in April last year. BN has told the local print media to play up objections to street rallies organised by the opposition for various causes. One such rally will be held this weekend. 

(The Malaysian Insider) – Putrajaya has told the local media to “soften people’s hearts” and provide more good news before this year’s general election to showcase the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) administrative record, say executives who have attended a series of hush-hush meetings since New Year’s Day.

The Malaysian Insider understands that newspaper and television news editors have also been told to play up positive economic stories and businessmen’s objections to street rallies such as this weekend’s Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (HKR) rally in Stadium Merdeka.

“The minister wants us to ‘soften people’s hearts’ with positive news and programmes,” said a media executive who attended a meeting chaired by Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

“The focus is more on the Chinese and Indian communities as BN feels they are not getting enough support from them,” the executive added.

BN suffered historic losses in Election 2008, ceding four states and more than one-third of the 222-seat Parliament to several opposition parties that later formed Pakatan Rakyat (PR) under sacked Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The swing has been attributed to widespread discontent among the Chinese and Indians, who form a significant minority among the country’s 28 million population.

But the opposition pact has found it difficult to expand its influence through the mass media as the government controls national radio and television broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), state news agency Bernama and its broadcasting arm BernamaTV and Radio24.

Rais’s ministry is also in charge of licensing private broadcasters such as Syarikat Televisyen Malaysia Bhd (STMB), Astro, TV AlHijrah and private radio stations.

It is understood the minister had asked for a list of positive programmes to be aired in the next few months ahead of Election 2013 which is now expected to be held before the first week of April.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/ahead-of-polls-putrajaya-tells-local-media-to-soften-peoples-hearts/