Producer for ntv7's talk show 'Editor's Time' quits after complaints from Rosmah, PM's Dept ?
I have on April 20 resigned as producer for ntv7's talk show 'Editor's Time'.
I am dissatisfied on the way the company has handled two complaints which came from the Prime Minister's Department and the First Lady (Rosmah Mansor). The complaints came after the airing the programme's Kuala Lumpur roadshow (March 19) and Penang roadshow (April 8).
The company, without conducting due investigation, set unreasonable restrictions for the talk show on the issues to be discussed as well as those to be invited as panel speakers.
The restrictions are:
1) The show not allowed to discuss political issues;
2) Opposition leaders cannot be invited to the show, including DAP MP Tony Pua who was to take part on the topic relating to the New Economic Model, and
(3) Ban on the 'Hulu Selangor by-election' show, which was originally scheduled for April 22.
These restrictions are not justifiable. It has threatened the independence of my job as producer. It is also a form of self-censorship, which is against the principle of fair and independent reporting. These restrictions have seriously affected the professionalism of the producing team.
According to my superior, Tan Boon Kooi (ntv7 Mandarin News and Current Affairs executive editor), the first complaint was made on March 19 after the airing of the roadshow in Kuala Lumpur the day before. The complaint came from the Prime Minister's Department via SMS. This SMS was forwarded to me by email through Lee Siad Huey, the host of 'Editor's Time'.
On April 16, News and Operation ntv7, 8tv and tv9 general manager Sofwan Mahmood ask for a meeting with me and Tan out of the blue. Tan was busy at that time, and I attended the meeting alone. Sofwan asked about the topic for the next show, I told him it would be the Hulu Selangor by-election.
He then said that it was not advisable as the BN had faced a major blow in its selection of the candidate for the by-election, and the show would embarrassed Najib Razak's administration. He then said he has never interfered in our task as a producer.
I told him that I would prepare a proposal for his consideration before any decision was made. He did not agree, but neither did he object. And his secretary, Dayang Norshida, asked me to write the proposal.
After that, I met with Tan, and briefed him pertaining to my conversation with Sofwan. Tan said, "Sofwan did not say it clearly. He actually wanted us not to talk about the by-election in the coming show."
Tan added further, "On Monday, the First Lady complained about your Penang roadshow - all the way from Washington... I hope you will change the topic."
I later found that the First Lady had received complaints from other people, and she re-directed the complaint to the top management. Tan said the content of the complaint is more or less the same as the complaint received after the airing of the roadshow in Kuala Lumpur.
It is inevitable for Malaysians to discuss the Hulu Selangor by-election. Bear in mind that the original goal and aim of this show is to discuss current issues - the by-election is without doubt an issue that relates to public interest.
As long as the analysis is balanced, objective, and not tilted to one side, I believe that the show can, and will, result in an in-depth and meaningful discussion. We do not need to over-react on a totally unreasonable complaint, or impose such high level of self-censorship and stop discussing about the by-election altogether.
(Source:"I quit after complaints from Rosmah, PM's Dept")
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