Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998 02:41:44 -0400
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU>
From: Alex G Bardsley <bardsley@ACCESS.DIGEX.NET>
Subject: Fwd: MY: Journalist's resignation chills media (HKStandard)
Journalist's resignation chills media
From Hong Kong Standard
Thursday 16 July 1998
KUALA LUMPUR: The resignation of the editor of a top Malaysian
newspaper group has sent a chill through the local media with
speculation that more heads will roll as Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamad shores up his power base.
Politicians and media executives said yesterday that this week's
surprise resignation of Johan Jaafar, group editor-in-chief of Utusan
Melayu Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd, had sparked worries of a
government clampdown on "negative" reporting by the local media.
Johan's resignation caused ripples among journalists because local
newspaper editors usually rise and fall on the government's nod.
The Utusan media group is closely linked to the ruling United Malays
National Organisation (UMNO) party and controls several newspapers
including the mass circulation Utusan Malaysia.
Some said Johan's departure indicated a move by Dr Mahathir to
strengthen his power base ahead of next year's UMNO party elections.
The resignation came two weeks after Dr Mahathir criticised local
media for "negative" and "sensational" reporting of problems at
Kuala Lumpur's new airport which opened on 30 June.
Malaysian newspapers detailed problems at the new airport__including
flight delays, missing baggage and lost cargot__for four days, before
toning down their coverage.