It is one thing to have people on the outside express their dislike for Utusan Malaysia, particularly after their recent incendiary "conspiracy" report. But when pretty much the same sentiment comes from a former senior journalist, Malaysians should really take notice.
In this revealing article from Free Malaysia Today, Hata among other things discloses UMNO's involvement with the paper's content, placing doubt in Walski's mind the veracity of the idea that because UMNO is Utusan's majority shareholder, "it did not mean the party condoned whatever was printed in it" (as stated in a New Straits Times report).
Utusan Malaysia: Behind the print
Many uncomplimentary descriptions have been accorded to Utusan Malaysia. The more common of those include “irresponsible”, “mischievous ” and “dangerous”. Of that trio, Utusan Malaysia’s former senior journalist, Hata Wahari, says that the third is dead-on.
The mainstream media, for as long as they pander to the government, enjoy immunity from public prosecution. But Utusan Malaysia has earned a special place within this untouchable clique simply by the virtue of being owned by Umno.
This privilege has spawned relentless attacks on the opposition and increasingly frequent inflammatory reports on race and religion. But while most urbanites can see right through Utusan Malaysia’s thinly-veiled propaganda, its rural readership remains staunch believers. For this reason alone, Hata warned that giving Utusan Malaysia the brush-off would be a very bad idea.
“People should worry about the slander it publishes because it is taking root in the rural areas,” he told FMT. “KL and Selangor are multi-cultural and able to discuss Utusan’s reports among themselves to seek clarification.”
“But the rural community is predominantly Malay-Muslim. Who are they going to cross-check their facts with? Neither is there another Malay-language paper to counter Utusan’s reports. The only media they are exposed to is government-owned media.”
Read more at www.freemalaysiatoday.com
“The racial flames are being stoked there and one day it will explode. I’m very afraid of that. If anything were to happen, it will begin in the rural areas. I have said before that another May 13 is likely if Utusan is allowed to continue playing up rubbish issues.”