What is truth and what is illusion? — Lim Mun Fah
MAY 7 — We dressed in black on the World Press Freedom Day to express our indignation. Unexpectedly, the move has led to two polarised responses. Some people applauded and sent us flowers as an encouragement, while some taunted us, rubbing salt into our wound.
A voice said that it was a professional risk that journalists should bear, just like war correspondents who have to face the risk of being attacked, when commenting on the incidents in which members of the media were detained and even assaulted during the Bersih 3.0 rally.
Another voice said that the police could not differentiate between rally participants and journalists in the chaotic circumstances.
The subtext of the remarks was so obvious!
We were shocked as some people actually mentioned a peaceful assembly and a brutal war in the same breath, and take the assault against journalists, their injuries and even death, as a professional risk that has nothing to do with them.
Yes, war is indeed ruthless and every war correspondent must hold a strong belief that, “if you cannot stop the war, you must then reveal the truth of the war to the world!”
Although we are not comparable to war correspondents, we still hold a similar belief, namely “if we cannot stop the demonstrations, we must then reveal the truth of the demonstrations to our readers!”
Of course, we must admit that, as journalists, we have no choice but to be ready to face risks. However, how could we use the risks that we are willing to take to rationalise the police’s act of violence against journalists?
Journalists are neutral. We are not expecting privileges, but we hope to be respected, and even get greater protection.
It must be noted that even war correspondents are subject to certain protections. Under the Protocol I of the Geneva Convention 1977, war correspondents are entitled to all rights and protections granted to civilians in international armed conflicts.
It is another plausible reason to claim that police officers were unable to differentiate between rally participants and journalists in the chaotic circumstances. We oppose all improper acts of violence, regardless of how it is performed, who is doing it, as well as who the victim is!
We would also like to solemnly point out that, in fact, journalists on duty that day wore their media passes or jackets printed with a media logo. It was not difficult to identify them.
However, Guang Ming Daily’s Wong Onn Kin was not only assaulted, but his media pass was also ripped off, causing him to be unable to prove his media status and unreasonably detained by the police as a troublemaker.
We are confused; since the police officers were unable to tell rally participants apart from journalists at that time, how did they know to snatch the cameras and delete photos showing their acts of violence?
If the online media has really “magnified” the police’s act of violence during the Bersih 3.0 rally, we are confused then. Have the traditional media, which were “admonished” not to publish the related photos until the police released five related pictures six days later instead, “diminished” the police’s act of violence?
It is an illusion? Or is it the truth? Has it been magnified? Or has it been diminished? How confusing it is! — mysinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.