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Message-ID: <199807160641.CAA05143@access4.digex.net>
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)

X-URL: http://www.hkstandard.com/online/news/001/asia/news003.htm

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.

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