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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hartal Utusan: The Who's Who & The What's What

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Image hosting by PhotobucketFirst of all, Walski would like to thank all the commenters who posted their two bits with regards to the introductory Hartal Utusan posting yesterday. Walski has read all the comments, and will take them into consideration. Feel free to use the logo on your own blog, if you are in support of the proposed action against Utusan.

This post will attempt to get to know the mommy animal itself a little better - the Utusan Group, which publishes Utusan Malaysia. It's important to understand the entire group before a decision on the extent of the hartal is made. As Walski mentioned, the real target of the hartal is the people behind the rubbish that Utusan's been publishing of late. And the most effective weapon is money, which comes from advertising. 

But before that, an interesting snippet of news, from Malaysiakini today, pertaining to the banning of Hindraf by the Malaysian government.

Syed Hamid said if left unchecked, Hindraf would continue to pose a threat to public order, the security and sovereignty of the country as well as the prevailing racial harmony.
(source: Malaysiakini - subscription required)

Don't know about you folks, but take the word "Hindraf" away, and what Malaysia's Most Hated stated could equally be applied to Utusan. And why no action against the newspaper?

Perhaps this little snipped by A. Kadir Jasin (via AgendaDaily) gives us a clue. This bit of old footage comes from about a year ago, and pertains to the aborted proposed merger of the Utusan and NSTP media groups.

It was reported that out of the 40-over members, only five, including the President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy President Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, supported the deal, forcing the official announcement of the plan to be postponed.

The Umno Supreme Council’s decision was crucial because the party and its nominees are said to control as much as 50% of Utusan Melayu’s shares. The NSTP, on the other hand, is ‘linked’ to Umno via proxies.

Originally, the merger was to be between Utusan Melayu, the publisher of Utusan Malaysia, and Media Prima Bhd, which is the controlling shareholder of The NSTP.

(source: Agenda Daily)

So yeah - Utusan is UMNO, UMNO is BN, and BN is the government. Taking action against Utusan would be like the Government shooting itself in the foot. Which it does anyways, with increasing regularity of late.
(now on to the What, and more, in the full post)

And since the Utusan group is rather large, it's also useful to know what publications are included in the media giant's stable. The Utusan Group website provides us with the information we need.

In terms of newspapers, the group publishes Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo (Utusan Melayu, and Mingguan Malaysia can be considered as subsets of the two publications). And this is where the focus should be on for our hartal. At least for a start. 

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe two targets of 'Hartal Utusan'

It also goes without saying that Hartal Utusan, apart from targeting the advertisers, also means that those in support will stop buying both these newspapers. In fact, start doing that now, if possible.

The sake of interest, there are also 12 magazines that the Utusan Group puts out: Wanita, Mangga, Kawan, Saji, Hai (Hiburan, Aksi & Informasi), iSihat, Pemikir, Harmoni, URTV, Remix, Al Islam, and of course, Walski's favorite trash reporting monthly, Mastika. Should we extend Hartal Utusan to cover these 12 publications as well? Walski's open to suggestions.

So how is our hartal going to work? That's generally been laid out in the previous post. What's needed now is some fine tuning as to how to target the advertisers. A little later in this post, Walski will throw some ideas at you, and what he needs is feedback, which you'll need to throw back.

First, however, another thank you, this time to reader (and fellow blogger) Jarod, who came up with additions to the list of advertisers, which was published as a comment to the earlier post:

  • SenQ (biggest contributor) 
  • Panasonic (2nd Biggest)
  • Carrefour
  • Celcom 
  • U-Mobile
  • Go-Holiday Air Asia
  • Andulusia Travel & Tours SB
  • Elken
  • Anak Syarikat Farlim Group
  • Ikano
  • Samsung

The rest, Jarod says, are small ads. Good job Jarod.

So here then is the game plan. Walski proposes that Hartal Utusan start on December 15, 2008 and last for one month. If required, we can extend the period.

Okay, so what are the demands? For Walski, Utusan Malaysia must stop behaving like UMNO's errand boy. Start being a real newspaper, and report factually. Also, stop with the political character assassinations - of any politician, regardless of from which side of the political divide.

Secondly, provide equal print & reporting space to all political entities. If Utusan must publish something negative about a particular political party or politician, Utusan must also publish the subject's response, in a fair manner.

Third, and most importantly, Utusan must start behaving in a manner that is productive towards nation building, and not continue to stoke racial tension, as it has been doing of late.

Three simple demands, which if not met by December 15, will result in Hartal Utusan going full steam ahead.

To make this effort more streamlined, Walski will soon start a new blog to focus on this Hartal. If anyone is interested in assisting Walski in administering the blog, drop him a line soon.

Your homework assignment:

  1. Continue with your reconnaissance, and report to Walski any new advertisers you spot
  2. Spread the word about Hartal Utusan

So, that's it for now. Walski welcomes any further comments, suggestions and discussions to make Hartal Utusan a success. Incidentally, the demands are negotiable, too.