Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Run, Media Run!

Inaugural National Press Club Media Run. Media practioners and friends of the media who like to run, the NPC in collaboration with the Persatuan Wartawan Wanita Malaysia (Pertama) will hold the first NPC Media Run on Nov 22, 2009. That's this Sunday.

The 5km run is not to raise funds or an excuse to party. We want to foster a brother-sisterhood in the media, old and new.

Call Muharyani Othman at 0122859647 or Aftar Singh at 0162453839 for details. Last day to register 20 Nov, 2009.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Media Freedom: A free discussion on Malaysia and Singapore

IF you think your media are not free, read journo-blogger Op-Ed's article Media - Ethiopia, Sudan, Haiti then Singapore.

These are the main points if you want to write about Singapore.
1) The government allows to write anything. But if it sees you straying into rumours and syiok sendiri political stories, it will not stand still.
It will be very vigorous in trying to get its response across.
Don't lose in court, baby. Don't.

If, to take a Malaysian example, you put out a story about the government being corrupt, or PM Najib Razak being involved with some murder (as some websites and blogs did), then expect a strong response. Unless you have court prove-able proof.
(And don't run and hide away like a royal coward after making scurrilous allegations about murder against the PM! Unless of course, they don't have any proof in the first place, just syiok sendiri writings).

The reason for staying true is simple: Singapore does not want some untrue stuff, or some things presented as 'facts' which it thinks are unfairly inaccurate, to be spread in the public domain forever and ever.
It will sue if necessary.
Be prepared to defend yourself vigorously.

As Minister Shanmugam says:
"Our approach on press reporting is simple: The press can criticise us, our policies. We do not seek to proscribe that.
"But we demand the right of response, to be published in the journal that published the original article. We do not accept that they can decide whether to publish our response. That irks the press no end."

In Malaysia, taking the example further, if a politician were to sue over some nonsense article, then a rumour will be accepted as fact, instead of the opposite.
When Anwar Ibrahim sued the writer of the book '50 Dalil' (50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become PM), people actually started to say: 'There you are, the book contains truths, so he wants to shut up the publisher and writer. Otherwise, why sue?'
If PM Najib or Dr Mahathir Mohamad were to sue some website or newspaper over something, people will cry about 'media freedom being restricted'.
'They are scared of the truth lah! Vote them out!'
Lim Kit Siang will ask for a commission of inquiry.

If you are not against media freedom, read the rest of the article, H E R E.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jalan Tangsi's life member dies

Tara Singh 1917-2009. The journalism fraternity has lost a doyen in Tara Singh (pic) who passed away in his sleep on Wednesday at the Univer-siti Malaya Medical Centre. Tara, 93, contributed to a Chinese newspaper before he retired from journalism. He came to be called Tan Ah Seng by his colleagues and was also an editor at Nanyang Press Group’s New Life Post until a few months ago.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Hardial Kaur, 78, who described her husband as a jovial man and a fighter to the end. “His best asset was his sense of humour. He was a nice man,” she said when met at their one-storey home in Section 8 here.

Tara was admitted to hospital for fever, diarrhoea and stomach pains on Sept 21 and recovered several days ago. Despite being weakened, Tara ignored the doctor’s orders and decided he wanted to move around and be active.

A friend and former New Straits Times journalist Philip Mathews said one of Tara’s best efforts as a journalist was writing a series of article on the infamous Pudu prison about 15 years ago. Another unique event of Tara’s life was when he was invited by Tan Sri T. H. Tan, the MCA secretary-general during the Alliance years, to help edit the party’s newsletter, in 1952.

Tara was the only non-Chinese to be made an MCA member when the party’s first president Tun Tan Cheng Lock did not object. Tara was cremated at 4pm yesterday at the Shah Alam crematorium in Section 21. Prayers will be held at the Gurdwara Sahib on Lorong Utara (B) on Oct 22 from 5pm to 7pm.

Article courtesy of copyofthis.com

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another blogger in the US goes to jail

Blogger sued by Anna Nicole's mom sent to jail


Aug. 22, 2009, 9:34AM

A second blogger being sued by the mother of the late Anna Nicole Smith is set to spend a weekend behind bars for failing to do what a local judge asked.

Teresa Stephens, accused in a civil lawsuit of defaming Smith's mother, was arrested Thursday in the Fort Worth area and is due in Harris County court Monday morning.

A judge will ask Stephens, whose blogging name is Butterfly according to the lawsuit, to show why she should not be found in contempt for failing to follow court orders to turn over her computer and to appear in court to explain why she didn't do so.

Neil McCabe, attorney for Virgie Arthur, said his client was defamed by these bloggers and others, but that the jailings aren't about blogging.

“This is because a couple of people have defied court orders,” McCabe said. “The case is not really about people blogging. It's about people ginning up a couple stories and getting them in the mainstream media.

McCabe said the gossip was vicious and it was around the time of custody hearings for Smith's infant daughter, Dannielynn, who could inherit an $88 million fortune. Smith died in 2007.

Arthur also sued lawyer Howard K. Stern; Stern's sister; Dannielynn's father, Larry Birkhead; TMZ Productions Inc.; TMZ's Harvey Levin; and others.

Similar cases

In May, Lyndal Harrington, a local real estate agent and blogger, was jailed for contempt of court by state District Judge Tony Lindsay, the same judge Stephens will face. In Harrington's case, the judge did not believe Harrington lost her computer in a home burglary.

Lindsay released Harrington after she spent a holiday weekend in the Harris County Jail. Harrington, who has said she has no computer to turn over, could risk further sanctions.

Stephens and Harrington are both accused of moderating defamatory discussions about Arthur on a Web site called Rose Speaks.

And both Stephens and Harrington have denied they defamed or harmed Arthur.

Earlier this month, Lindsay issued an order to have Stephens arrested and brought to court. Lindsay allowed for a $3,000 bond, conditioned on Stephens bringing her computer to court.

Stephens does not have a lawyer and has tried to appeal Lindsay's ruling without success yet.

It is highly unusual for a judge to use civil laws to place someone, especially a non-lawyer, in jail.

Groups that monitor Internet law say bloggers are increasingly being sued for defamation, copyright infringement and privacy invasion. One group offers insurance against these lawsuits.

Dave Heller, of the New York City-based Media Law Resource Center, said many bloggers are surprised to be sued “for the loose, hyperbolic language often used in private speech that they post on a public platform.”

Arthur's case is scheduled for trial in 2010.

To see original article, click here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Media Under Najib

  • Freedom or doom? The title of this blogpost, The media under Najib, is also the title of the article I wrote for Oon Yeoh in his latest book, Najib's 100 Days, launched last Thursday at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in KL. The book is a collection of 14 essays by Zaid Ibrahim, Kee Thuan Chye, and Malik Imtiaz, among others.Tunku Aziz, who founded Transparency International before jumping on the political bandwagon in the wake of the March 2008 general election, launched the book.
  • "I don't think much of Najib," the Senator from DAP said, thus setting the tone for the panel discussion that followed the launch. The panelists were V. Gayatry, Chin Huat, Tricia Yeoh, Ibrahim Sufian, Bridget Welsh and I (who all wrote for the book) and YB Jeff Ooi (who did not contribute any article because Oon Yeoh hadn't wanted any elected people's rep to be involved). Compared with the other panelists, as one member of the audience pointed out, I sounded the most optimistic about prospects under Najib's premiership.
  • Guilty as charged.
  • Each panelist was given 10 minutes to say his/her piece. I attempted to compare Najib not just with the two other PMs I've dealt with in my 25 years as a journalist - Dr M and Pak Lah - but also with the deputy prime ministers since 1981 - Musa Hitam, Ghafar Baba, Anwar Ibrahim and Muhyidin Yasin.
  • Under Anwar Ibrahim, for example, the media tzars were his (instead of Dr Mahathir's) loyalists (with the exception, perhaps, of A. Kadir Jasin, who was linked more to Daim Zainuddin, probably the only non-PM/DPM who'd enjoyed a tight grip of the media). Under Anwar's watch, too, several top editors of Umno-owned media groups and their executives became very rich as a result of multi-billion ringgit corporate moves.
  • I told the audience that if Dr Mahathir had entrusted his deputies to take care of the media, it wasn't the case with Pak Lah, who left the running of the media entirely to a couple of individuals and the 4th Floor. During his first 100 days, Pak Lah had sacked the Group Editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times Press and replaced him with a close friend.
  • The media"scape" under Najib has changed tremendously from the 80s and 90s. When Dr M was PM, there was only the "old" media. When Pak Lah took over, he rejected the "new" media. Najib has to give latitude to both old and new media.
  • I pointed out that there is almost absolute Press Freedom as far as the New Media is concerned, as Najib understands the concept (Gayathry disagreed, she said Press Freedom should be measured in totality: old and new media)
  • Najib's statement a week or so ago to assure us that the Government will not censor the Internet (he was responding to Rais Yatim's statement that the ministry was considering a filter to check cyber porn) is proof that the PM is going to honor Dr M's promise to the world that Malaysia would not ever censor the Internet (Tricia, however, thought that it was all staged, that Rais and Najib were playing the good cop, bad cop game).
  • I said I was confident that under Najib's watch we witness the abolition of such archaic regulations as the PPPA, which among other things requires newspapers to renew their publishing licences annually.
  • Najib had better do that because if Tunku Aziz's prophecy plays out (he had said that Najib could be the last Umno PM of Malaysia), the media will be worse off under the next Government, I said.
  • Why?
  • Just look at DAP's Penang, where the mainstream media are barred from covering official functions. Under the current Anwar Ibrahim, suing the media has become a norm. The latest is his RM100 million suit he filed against Utusan.
By the way, Oon Yeoh, by the way, gave the PM a B+ for his first 100 days. Read the book review by The Malay Mail here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sir Winston Churchill vs Tun Mahathir Mohamad

Spin and Anti-Semitism. Blogger AsH, who's based in the UK for now, shares with us her view on "the modus operandi of journalists and writers as they diminish and demolish someone's achievement and character, especially someone who does not sing from their hymn book".

"I am not writing this to champion and defend Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a former PM of Malaysia ... (but) When it comes to anti-Semitism no one can hold a candle to JS's Motherland's hero : Sir Winston Churchill.

"Dr Mahathir, President Mugabe, President Ahmedinejad - eat your heart out. In the accusations made against you for rabid anti-Semitism you have been outclassed by Sir Winston Churchill."

Read AsH's Tit for Tat for Tatty Tirades (Don't you just love Alliterations?)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Straits Times confirms posting

Najib's bid to put aide on Petronas board hits snag
Directors say PM's nominee had defaulted on scholarship; Petronas adviser Mahathir says 'not good idea'
By Leslie Lopez, Senior Regional Correspondent

Mr Omar worked briefly with Petronas, a tenure the oil firm says was not enough to meet his scholarship obligations.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak's bid to appoint his key aide as a director of Petronas is being resisted by the board and could put the Premier at odds with the national oil corporation's influential adviser, former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

According to senior government officials, the board of directors of Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) raised reservations over the proposal to appoint

Mr Omar Mustapha at its monthly meeting last month.

Mr Omar is one of the premier's closest political confidants.

The reservations were made on the grounds that he had defaulted on his scholarship loan agreement with Petronas two decades ago.

Datuk Seri Najib, however, is determined to have Mr Omar appointed as a director. He ordered the Petronas board to review its position over the appointment at a meeting this week, the government officials said.

Petronas officials have declined comment, and Mr Omar could not be reached.

Tun Dr Mahathir, who government officials said has been briefed about the situation, told The Straits Times yesterday that it was Mr Najib's prerogative as Premier to 'appoint a man who failed to honour his obligation to Petronas when he was given a scholarship by it'.

'Generally, I would say that it is not a good thing to appoint such a person,' he said in a written response.

Mr Najib's office did not respond to requests for comments.

Petronas, Malaysia's only company on the Fortune 500 listing of the world's most profitable companies, is considered to be the country's most efficiently managed state-owned corporation.

Incorporated in August 1974, the corporation has firmly established itself as a global energy player over the last two decades. It currently operates in over 30 countries, and its overseas operations, including exports, account for more than 75 per cent of its revenue.

Many oil industry experts and bankers credit the oil company's phenomenal growth to the government's hands-off approach to the running of the oil corporation.

Mr Omar, 38, has emerged as one of the closest political confidants of Mr Najib and is often tapped for advice on economic and financial matters.

'A politician in Petronas may have other agenda which may or may not be in keeping with the national interest,' Dr Mahathir said in his comments to The Straits Times.

He added: 'I think it is far better if no politician is allowed to interfere with commercial decisions which may not be good for the corporation.'

Positions on the board of Petronas and its subsidiary companies have traditionally been reserved for very senior civil servants and prominent private sector personalities.

Mr Omar graduated from Oxford on a scholarship from Petronas in the mid-1990s and worked briefly with the national oil corporation and another government-linked corporation.

He then joined McKinsey & Co, where he worked for the international consulting company in London and Malaysia.

He left McKinsey in early 2002 to set up his own consultancy firm called Ethos with several close friends. Two years later, he was tapped by Mr Najib, who was then the deputy prime minister, to become his special officer.

Government officials familiar with Mr Omar's proposed appointment to the board of Petronas said that the national oil corporation takes a firm view against scholarship defaulters.

Mr Omar did not complete the required number of years of service with the oil corporation or a related government agency as stipulated in his scholarship agreement.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dinner with YBs: Guest #2

Shaziman Abu Mansor, Works Minister. The National Press Club exco will meet the Works Minister for dinner this week. I am particularly interested in how he is going to solve the problem of long queues at highway/expressway tolls. These multi-million highways were constructed to ease traffic congestions but they have ended up being the cause for massive bottlenecks, as the Works Minister discovered for himself earlier this week.

The ideal solution is to abolish toll but that would create other problems for the Government.

If you have any question you'd like to ask the Minister, go to my Comment box.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Have the 4th Estate failed themselves?

What a BUMmer! One major theme of last Saturday's B.U.M. 2009, dubbed the most important blogging event in Malaysia this year, was on the 4th Estate, or rather the question: Have the 4th Estate Failed Us?

Ahmad A. Talib, the man a certain online news portal with Italian connection said Najib Razak did not want back at NSTP, asked: "Have (the 4th Estate) failed themselves?".
Go to his blog here for his pictures from BUM and his thoughts on the matter.

In my brief presentation as the last panel member of the last panel discussion, I said that during the last three years the MSM failed the citizens. There were the occasional exceptions here and there but the mainstream newspapers and television stations were generally behaving like lapdogs instead of watchdogs during that period. I cited their failures to pursue, let alone uncover, the controversies and misdeeds that the online news and blogs were exposing. I failure was man-made. I blamed it on some editors.
But having said that, I also reported to the Bummers that day that the online news portals and bloggers are also failing us pretty quickly.

Maverick SM waited for the next day to see how the mainstream media reported on what Dr M had said at BUM 2009. "That was not the essence of Tun M's speech," he blogs here, with a news cutting as proof of how - or why - the MSM are still failing.

A Voice, who identity was exposed recently by a politician-blogger bent on doing more such exposes, enjoyed the whole day affair. In his posting, he wrote:
"Sorry folks, if you were expecting a brawl with blood all over the premise it didn't happen. In fact, they were so cordial and friendly and even exchanging handphone numbers. Perhaps they would stop leaving nasty comments on each others' blog after this since they personally know each other now."
Amir Hafizi has a toe-sucking - or, rather, toe-tickling - take here on the Q and A with Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Bummers (except he kept calling us Bums). Shamsul Yunus did it "live" here. And Big Dog has a posting "Bloggers are VIPs", plus pictures, here.

Jinggo has lots of pictures, here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who, What is a Malaysian Journalist?

The National Press Club Malaysia has 9 categories of members. Top of the list are "Ordinary Members". Only bona fide journalists can be Ordinary Members, and only they can vote at meetings.

Under the 1992 Constitution of the club, Ordinary Members are "residents in Malaysia who are on the editorial staff of newspapers, radio and television, news agencies, photo services, feature services, magazines, Government Information services and resident freelance journalists whose main income is derived from the above media".

Basically, that's how journalists have been defined by the NPC, the oldest and one of the biggest journalists bodies in the country. The National Union of Journalists, the Malaysian Press Institute, and the other organisations may have their own definitions.

"...whose main income is derived from the above media ..."

I have always had a problem with this line. Journalists should not be defined by ringgit and sen. By the years of journalism they have put in, maybe. By the number of articles, columns, books, working papers they have published, perhaps. By way of recognition by their peers, especially.

But not how much the journalist earns from his writings vis-a-vis other things that the journalist does to supplement his income (like singing in a pub, script writing, giving tuitions, treasure hunting, etc). Journalists know that they are some of the poorest paid professionals in the country!

One of the first things I did after assuming the Presidency of the NPC last month is to convince the Exco that we need to redefine ourselves. We need a new definition for "Ordinary Members". My "sabbatical" in cyberspace/blogosphere has also brought me closer to New Media journalists. Those with online news like MalaysiaKini and Harakah, for example.

Tonight a committee led by our Advisor, Encik Mokhtar Hussein of Bernama, met for the first time to review the Constitution of the NPC, especiall with regards to the defition of Ordinary Members/Journalists. We are going to bring in veteran journos as well as people who have been dealing with journalists nearly all their lives, especially those in advertising and PR, to help us with the undertaking. A former Judge will be consulted for this exercise.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rocky returns to Malay Mail as CEO?

CEO, as in Chief Editorial Officer?
I'm flattered that the Malaysian Insider, the Malaysian news portal with the Italian Connection, has found it newsworthy to put up a news about my return to the Malay Mail.

The May 6 report headlined "Rocky" returns as Malay Mail CEO contains one fundamental factual error! I have NOT been appointed as the CEO of The Malay Mail.

The error is found on the first paragraph:
Ahirudin ‘Rocky’ Attan, known for his Rockybru weblog that was critical of the Abdullah Administration, has been named as chief executive officer of the 112-year-old The Malay Mail.
When we train cadet journs, we tell them how to avoid such basic mistakes. We must verify the information we get. We can't trust all our informers all the time. In this case, the Insider could have easily avoided the mistake if they had contacted me to verify their info.

Malaysian Insider has also omitted some necessary facts when discussing me and blogging, including the fact that I was the first blogger, together with Jeff Ooi, to be sued by a newspaper company then headed by certain individuals who now lead the Insider. And that the VSS was not really "voluntary". I won't deny the "substantial pay-off"; after all, I was not a small fry.

Usually, when faced with misreporting by a newspaper or online news, you ask for a correction and apology. But I'm cool here.

I spent 21 years as a journalist with the NSTP. I was editor of two of the newspapers - the Business Times in 1998 and the Malay Mail in 2001-2006. Like it or not, I am still attached to that place. It has gone down the gutters lately but it's not beyond redemption.

At a talk organised by a GLC the other night, where a senior editor was a fellow panelist, I was asked by the moderator if I'd go back to the NSTP or the Malay Mail if I was offered to. My answer was, yes. If I know I could bring changes to the profession, I shall return.

But to be able to make any changes, I must go back as an editorial man, NOT as Chief Executive Officer as reported by the Insider.

p.s. The Malaysian Insider did get the spelling for my name right (Ahirudin Attan - single D, double T) so I'm really quite impressed with the quality of their reporting. Honestly.

‘Rocky’ returns as Malay Mail CEO

tmi-n.jpgKUALA LUMPUR, May 6 - A prominent blogger is returning to the mainstream. Ahirudin ‘Rocky’ Attan, known for his Rockybru weblog that was critical of the Abdullah Administration, has been named as chief executive officer of the 112-year-old The Malay Mail.

His appointment as CEO paves the way for the departure of current chief editor Tony Francis. But the afternoon tabloid will remain under Dynahall Sdn Bhd, which is owned equally by Datuk Ibrahim Mohd Noor’s Simpletech and Media Prima’s Gabungan Kesturi Sdn Bhd.

“Rocky was named CEO today and Tony Francis will leave immediately. Malay Mail will remain outside NSTP,” an editorial executive with the tabloid told The Malaysian Insider after being briefed on the matter this evening.

“Morale is a bit low as the staff are shocked,” he added, saying the staff had tried to prevent Francis from resigning.

Ahirudin was acting editor of The Malay Mail from 2001 and was later made the editor. He took a voluntary separation scheme in February 2006 and was said to have received a substantial pay-off.

He began blogging in May 2006 and built up a following by attacking Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the establishment and supporting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Following Abdullah’s retirement and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s appointment as the Prime Minister, he has been less critical of the government.

The Malay Mail, founded in 1896, was part of The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad until it sold its 100 percent interest for RM5 million to Dynahall. The purchase did not include the newspaper’s archives, which is seen as a valuable commodity.

Simpletech’s owner Ibrahim has a stake in BlueInc that owns string of lifestyle magazines. Gabungan Kesturi is a substantial shareholder of public-listed Media Prima Berhad which, in turn, is a major shareholder in NSTP Berhad.

Ahirudin was also president of the National Press Club between 2003 and 2007 and recently re-elected as president again. His former editor Datuk Ahmad A. Talib has just been appointed editorial adviser to the NSTP group, which led to speculation that Ahirudin would return in a senior post.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dinner with YBs at Jalan Tangsi

At the first exco meeting which I chaired as the new President of the National Press Club, we resolved to organise a series of meetings with Cabinet Ministers, including the PM and his deputy, as well as leaders from the States. The primary idea is to build rapport and see how we can help the YBs carry out their duties to make Malaysia a better place for our children to grow up in.

Guest #1: YB Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Sports and Youth. I also told our first YB guest last night that we were also asking the YBs' support to help the National Press Club, which comprises working journalists, to "push the parameters of openness and Press freedom".

Shabery drove himself to the Press Club for our 9 pm dinner. Dinner was a simple buffet and we sat at a long table for 20. No formal speeches, but the Minister told us of his plans to develop not just sports "but a sports industry" for Malaysia, where there's revenue instead of just "spend, spend, spend". He's already established a media centre - wifi and all - at the Ministry itself, probably the first ministry to have one. The former Information Minister appreciates the need for info and news to travel fast. Shabery is also talking about IPTV for sports to help develop the industry. "We are not talking about just one channel but five or six".
And yes, he'll help push our "openness and Press freedom" agenda. Within reason.

While we were dining, a crime journalist from theSun told the Minister of the arrest of activist-lecturer Wong Chin Huat of the Coalition of Clean and Fair Elections for sedition. The story here.

[pictures coming]

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New NSTP head honcho

Group Editorial Adviser. The Italian-backed* Malaysian Insider has a speculative story here that Ahmad A. Talib, the Pahit Manis blogger, will be going back to the New Straits Times Press to restore order.

I've heard something to that effect, too. By next week, all the speculation will be put to rest.

In the meantime, just to put some perspective to the Malaysian Insider's byline-less piece (usually, if there's no byline in MI, then the writer would be Brenden Pereira or Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan himself, but I can't confirm that):
"Both individuals were senior members of the media establishment during the Mahathir era, a period when the Opposition had to be content with footnote coverage and the public was served with daily dose of government speak."
Yes, that's a fact - Johan Jaafar and Ahmad, 57, were major players then. But during that era the de facto media baron was Anwar Ibrahim, Dr M's trusted DPM. Johan Jaafar, in fact, was said to be an Anwar man along with Nazri Abdullah, Khalid Ahmad, and Yunos Said. Ahmad was close to Abdullah Badawi and was widely expected to be made NSTP editorial supremo when Pak Lah became PM. That was before Kalimullah came into the picture and "reluctantly" took up the post of Pak Lah's man in NSTP.
"During the Abdullah years, the media were given more space to criticise government policies and debate contentious issues. But Umno members felt that this policy was misguided because it only opened the ruling party and some of their politicians and institutions to ridicule."
If that's true, then the NSTP under Kalimullah's rule and Brenden's leadership failed to take advantage of that "more space". Instead, the NSTP became a paper to prop up one man and one man only. The Malay Mail (then an NSTP subsidiary) which I headed was turned into a "college paper" not because it was not doing well BUT because it was doing exposes´involving cronies of the PM and for being too critical. I was there, so I know. Kali and Brenden know. Hishammuddin Aun, who could be reporting to Ahmad Talib soon, knows that too.
"Ahmad left the NST in 2004 and was part of senior management which presided over the steepest drop in the newspaper’s circulation."
I can't help grinning at the attempt of a spin here. The NST newspaper's circulation was hovering over 150,000-180,000 for many years. It dropped to 120,000 a day and sometimes lower in the last 4-5 years. It also shrunk in terms of size! The editors believed then that if you go tabloid, the NST would beat The Star in no time. Amateurs. Luckily they managed to sell the tabloids to the schools, otherwise I do not know what the numbers would look like.

When Ahmad Talib was the GE of the NST, he was also responsible for the Malay Mail, which became the fastest-growing daily by 2004. In 2003, the Malay Mail's permit (KDN) was not renewed for three months because they said we were breaking too many rules. Ahmad and I went to the KDN together to bang tables and got back our KDN. Something a lesser GE would not have done!

I shall look forward to the announcement next week.

* Vincenzo is an Italian restaurant in Bangsar that Kalimullah set up (when he was at NSTP and a friend of the Prime Minister) because he didn't know what to do with so much loose change. He wrote about the restaurant lovingly in his column back then. The restaurant advertises heavily in Malaysian Insider.

p.s. For the record, the last real Editorial Adviser to the NSTP was the late Pak Samad.

NPC 2009-2011

A New Term. The new exco of the National Press Club completes its first month next week.

We have had:

1. One exco meeting, in which we decided to set up a committee under the watch of the club's Adviser, Encik Mokhtar Hussein of Bernama, to review the National Press Club's Constitution, especially with regards to how we should define "Journalism" and who qualifies to be called a "journalist".

2. A talk at the club for bloggers, by prominent lawyer Datuk Shafee Abdullah. The topic was the Perak issue. Bloggers present included OutSyed The Box, Parpukari, Melayu Lama, A Voice, Shar101, Old Fart, Big Dog, and SK Thew.

3. The launch of the NPC's Series of National Discourse in Ipoh, Perak, where we had the counsels for UMNO and DAP square off at the Ipoh Town Hall for the benefit of some 250 members of the public. Shafee delivered the keynote address, OutSyed the Box moderated.

4. A media night for NPC members at GAB. Charles Ireland, the GAB boss, was made an Honorary Member of the NPC.

The next do is a morning event, on the 9th of May, to mark Press Freedom Day. The event will be jointly held with the National Union of Journalists. We hope to rope in other press bodies to support the do. More details, soonest.