Wednesday, September 14, 2011
When a bureau chief resist intimidation
Hanging around press people for the past couple of years have developed this blogger's respect for them. The dedication and persistence of journalist and cameramen to get stories keeps the rest of the country in the know of happenings.
Not all of their information come out as stories in the paper. It only means the untold bit of information is more than the stories that come out. Press people are good source of information. They have lots of contacts, access to primary sources of information, witness to events themselves, and other reasons. I do get tips from them.
Because of that camarederie and respect, I have no tolerance when press people are victimised by establishment.
That was the reason this blogger went after Dato Azizan Abdul Rahman and Securities Commission Chairperson, Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar. Ever since, they keep landing in trouble till today.
Instead of getting their own information, Zarinah allowed the SC investigating officers to harrass the press as the shortcut way of securing information in their investigation on Kenmark. That is an infringement of press freedom. Just like the case of the indiscriminate firing of a staff by a press secretary to a Minister, it is an abuse of power.
Today, we are revealing the story of a news bureau chief being victimised for not playing ball to a press secretary.
Whether it has relation to that press secretary of a Minister, we will not comment. This press secretary to a Minister is not happy with the bureau chief of the News Straits times (NST).
For what reason, I cannot gauge but if the bureau chief has a different angle, maybe critical and opposite to the desired way the press secretary wants, the press secretary has no business to meddle in his work.
He should apply his skill in press relation. But instead he known by the local press community for being abusive and intimidating. In this case, he fixed the bureau chief.
If he had been professional, he could have applied his press relation role as a press secretary to a politician to engage with the press. When the press are well informed with facts and information, they are unlikely to come out with stories detrimental to the politician and his establishment.
The press secretary have to be aware of all comments, remarks and rumours for or against his boss to be able to give the right fact and information.
He should not dictate tell what and how the reporter should write or the bureau chief to approve. Even though he has the power or the bureau chief could be his former subordinate, he should remain professional.
The last one should do in press relation is to call up the press people and address them in anger to spew words like "bodoh", "pu*imak", "sial" and the likes.
Most of the press are from mainstream media, owned by parties friendly with the government and are cooperative with the Government. There is no reason to be so worked up to the point of verbally abusing them.
Not only has this press secretary to a Minister behave in an unprofessional manner, it has come to our attention that he went to the point of doing something that even the 11 press secretaries and officers to the Prime Minister do not do.
It was made known to this blogger that the press secretary and one of his superior went to meet the NST's Editor-in-Chief, Dato Zainur Ariffin and Political Desk Editor, Rashid Yusof to complain about the bureau chief and demanded that he be taken back to Kuala Lumpur to be replace with someone else.
The other reporters are saying there is nothing really seriously wrong about the bureau chief, except that he does not play ball with the press secretary. And he may have not tolerated the rough intimidating and abusive ways of his ex-colleague.
For the press secretary to meet the top people of a newspaper and interfere in the placement of staff, that is an abuse of power and influence. The superior that came along used to contribute for NST. Both the press secretary, his superior and Rashid Yusof are what one can describe as in a common political camp.
The problem with conforming to their request is that the bureau chief has long been rooted in the area. His family is there. His children are schooled there. His probably bought a house and rear chicken there.
And he has medical problem. Displacing him to Kuala Lumpur will deprive him of family care on his down days.
The press secretary knows of that and he doesn't care. Just like he doesn't care the bearing his attitude, manners and behaviour on the public perception of his Minister boss. Nor does he give a damn that his constant and extensive threat to the press and bloggers is giving his Minister boss a bad name.
He thinks his insidious way of leaking information and cooperating with opposition blog to shame someone is not traceable. His game and coterie of paid people is known. He already drag someone else in trouble. And he could be in trouble.
He thinks the people, public and authorities are not aware of his long list of collusions and wrongdoings.
Since they can't force the bureau chief to transfer out without being seen as inhumane, they insist on NST management to demote him to a regular reporter and another bureau chief will replace him.
That is both an insult on the bureau chief and illegal on the company. Someone cannot be demoted unless it is established by due process in accordance with the labour law. Whatever he had done, he is now a victim of this mean press secretary.
If the bureau chief decide to get a legal recourse and from an pro-opposition lawyer, it will only become a bullet for the opposition against his boss. The press secretary's action have become apolitical liability to the Minister.
There is a great possibility that there are other complaints against the press secretary by the other members of the local press community. Although his Minister has a glaring smile, no wonder he is not getting quite the right support from the press.
With his press secretary behaving like a local gangster, what does he expect?
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