Social media in Malaysia is buzzing with the news about the US Government's action against 1MDB. Mainstream media, however, chose to not run the story in their print versions, despite reporting about it on their web portals, Free Malaysia Today reported.
A check by FMT revealed that all Bahasa Malaysia (BM) and English mainstream dailies did not report on the matter, despite a foreign news wire sending out the report before 8pm last night.
Umno-owned New Straits Times front-paged a story on vaccination while MCA’s The Star, and The Malay Mail chose to go with a story on the possible snap elections in Penang, as did BM daily, Utusan Malaysia.
The only daily which reported the news was the vernacular publication, China Press.
Mustapha Kamil, the former group editor of the New Straits Times (NST) who quit his job at the newspaper in April after working there for over 25 years, wrote on his Facebook profile how the editors at mainstream Malaysian media "have missed a very big story"
The former NST editor, while speaking to the WSJ, had said that Najib cracked down on Free Speech to limit 1MDB fallout and has an "authoritarian" stand toward media.
Mustapha, in his Facebook post earlier today, while addressing "all mainstream media editors, especially those who for the past couple of years have unashamedly called their international counterparts 'liars'," wrote how the International media have "scooped" the Malaysian mainstream editors right under their noses.
He asked them, albeit mockingly, as to how are they going to face their reporters, their advertisers and ultimately the public? "Who is lying now?," he poked.
Mustapha, who has claimed that before 1MDB, there was more freedom for media to do their job, in a separate post on his Facebook profile, asked his former colleagues in the mainstream media as to "where are we to hide our shamed souls now?"
Explaining the reason behind using 'we', Mustapha writes, "because I feel ashamed of myself too as for a long 28 years, like you, I failed to play my role as the public's watchdog." A journalist’s responsibility is "first to the truth," he had said in past.
He attributes his failure to play his role as the reason for leaving his job, adding "I take no pride in leaving the profession but I wasn't strong enough to go against the tide."
In his post, which has been shared by LGE and Global Bersih pages, Mustapha says that while Malaysian journalists knew what has been laid bare by the US DOJ for the world to see, they said nothing
Noting that his time is over, he made an impassioned plea to all those still in the profession to "turn back and put journalism in order", adding that they "owe that to the society you serve"
"Journalism is not about rubbing shoulders with the powerful, being driven around by a driver and with a few honorific titles to show. It is about how we help society master their world by helping them make the best decisions on matters that affects their lives. Lying and the suppression of the truth is not journalism." - Mustapha Kamil.