You capture the General, not the Private

Sharon had a point in the recent arrest of Sin Chew reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng – why arrest the reporter instead of grilling her editor?

Editors take full responsibility over their staff’s actions. They’re not meant to just sit in their ivory towers and order hapless writers and subs about.

It’s their job to take the blame, to answer for any mistakes in their publications, and also to shield their writers from those who would prevent them from doing their jobs.

Which is why I don’t miss being the print editor of The Mag anymore. I’m content being web editor, thanks very much. I no longer have to be the dartboard for every failing of the magazine or for my staff’s slip-ups.

Pak Samad’s words come to mind – he said before that journalists now are too middle-class, too far removed from ordinary people’s plights.

But Tan was brave enough to do her duty. I hope that this will perhaps spur our local media to remember their roots – to report the truth and to be the people’s voices.

The Star never really recovered from the last Operasi Lalang, instead proving to become a commercially successful but morally bankrupt publication. But really, no major newspaper should be partly or wholly owned by a political party. Instead of being a respectable newspaper, it is the equivalent of the MCA newsletter…gone commercial.

Though I have many friends working in the line, I refuse to buy local newspapers and have boycotted The Star for years now. Though I do peep at it online, I refuse to buy the print version. Maybe soon there will come a time where I can finally buy newspapers again.

Else I’ll just have to learn to read Chinese and subscribe to the Sin Chew Jit Poh.

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