Side Views

Unintended lapse — Tay Tian Yan

February 21, 2012

FEB 21 — The first political debate, be it inside or outside the hall, was far from being perfect.

The debate commanded a lot of attention, and media players trod cautiously in reporting the unprecedented event in order to stay neutral and fair.

On Sin Chew Daily, both Chua Soi Lek and Lim Guan Eng were accorded equal treatment on the front page. In the same way we used to handle landmark events in the past, the debate was given double spread coverage, with Chua and Lim each taking a full page on the left and right halves respectively.

Such treatment should be deemed balanced and even-handed.

However, when it came to print, the left half of the double spread on Chua became page 2 while Lim’s other half went to page 31!

We had intended to put the debaters side by side in the pull-out sheet, but the pagination put one ahead of the other, resulting in some unavoidable misunderstanding.

As if that is not enough, on the third and fourth pages was news on the political forum (of which the debate was just a part) officiated by PM Najib.

Many readers read Chua’s arguments on page two, followed by the coverage on the forum, only to see the part on Lim Guan Eng towards the end of the main paper.

Understandably, queries and misunderstandings ensued.

This proves a point in Murphy’s Law. The adage states that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Indeed, things often go wrong when they would least likely go wrong.

While Sin Chew Daily has strived to stay neutral, objective and balanced in carrying the news event, some unintended oversights have nevertheless slipped in.

Sure enough Murphy’s Law does not justify a negligent lapse, but we have indeed learned a lesson from the latest misstep and will try our best to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

To Lim Guan Eng, DAP supporters and all our loyal readers, we deeply regret any misunderstanding arising from such a misstep, but we definitely do not agree to some online claims that Sin Chew has deviated from its just and unbiased stand.

It is our wish that we all look at this misstep with a rational and open mind, and that you would assess us by the way we have been handling news reports all these years.

If we have not done our job well, we should indeed conduct a genuine soul-searching and make amends. That said, we did not commit the mistake on purpose, and hope we have your kindest understanding. —mysinchew.com

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.