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Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Don't Police the Polis



The POLIS wants to police the media but tells the media not to police the polis. This is essentially the message [i think] the IGP gave the media at a Police Dinner With The Media, recently. The IGP message was read out by the Federal Police Director of Management, Datuk Kamaruddin Ali.
The event was also reported by the STAR, under this heading :: Police honour The Star during media night. It made no mention of the message the polis was trying to pass on to the media. Wonder why so? Did the STAR not get the message or Datuk Datuk Wong decided to ignore it. The STAR report tersely said this :: "The annual event was part of the force's effort to strengthen ties with media."
So what was the message the IGP wanted the media to take home? What can be glimpsed from the BERNAMA report with the headline :: Media Reminded To Avoid Reporting Sensational Issues. Excerpts from this report ::
  1. The media should reach an understanding with each other in refraining from reporting sensational issues which bring about negative effects on crime and the police force.
  2. An understanding [by the media] was crucial because every report carried by the media would have positive and negative effects. Issues pertaining to crime, if over-sensationalised, would give a negative preception [of the polis] to the public.
  3. "The media plays an important role in creating public awareness especially on crime prevention such as the reports on rapes and traffic accidents.
    "However, if the reports were excessive, the public will be afraid and worse, it would give a negative impression to foreigners."
  4. The media [should] refrained from criticising the police force if any of its officers were involved in malpractices.
  5. He [the IGP] gave an assurance that the police force would take stern action against officers who were guilty
  6. Media criticism against the police force not only demoralised the police personnel as a whole, it also eroded public confidence in the force.

Many, me included, would agree with the IGP that the media should not oversensationalise crime reporting, especially rape and murder cases. Some of the papers, in order to boost sales, have been guilty of this, describing the crimes in their gory details and going into details which are better left alone. Surely i don't have to give further details or examples of such media reports. i really don't understand what the IGP meant by excesssive reportings, is the media reporting more crimes than there really are and as a result getting foreigners think that our fair country is rifed with crime waves? i don't agree that there has been excessive crime reporting, sensational yes, excessive certainly no.
But what i disagree most is that part of the message regarding criticism against the polis force about polis officers involved in malpractices. When was the last time, we get to read this stuff in our media. Imagine our self-censoring media criticising the polis and coming out with investigative reports on polis malpractices! The IGP is obviously bringing out the chopper when even a penknife is not needed. Now what is our cowed media going to do next, sing more praises regarding our PDRM. If our media is to live up to its purpose and duty, reporting on polis malpractices will only enhance the image of this fair country and attract foreign notice that corruption and malpractices are not welcomed [isn't this what our new PM has been saying since he took over] but certainly send a message to the PDRM that malpractices by its members would not go unnoticed. Public confidence in the media would definitely be enhanced. The honest members of the PDRM would definitely feel that their honest toll is not going to waste and it would definitely stop those considering embarking on dishonest endeavours, and make them think twice or even thrice. i feel the IGP is sending a wrong message to the media and the polis force. His assurance that the guilty in the PDRM would face internal stern action is definitely not very assuring. Will a day come when bloggers and others would be invited to a Police Dinner With The Bloggers & Others and a similar message not to criticise polis malpractices! But then again tomorrow we may be told that the media report on the IGP message has been all but correctly quoted. i am sure i must have got the said message, especially the portion regarding media criticism of polis malpractices all wrong.



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LONE's rantings for all interested, COMMENTS/KOPI-0s welcomed. Comments are solely the views of their makers
MALAYSIA, a great place to be in, BUT we can, will and must make HER better.
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