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Footage of ‘speaker dragged out’ banned

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on May 13, 2009

From Malaysia kini

The one enduring image of the controversial May 7 Perak assembly sitting was that of speaker V Sivakumar being physically removed from his chair and to allow his rival, R Ganesan, to take over the proceedings.

A TV station has video footage of the dramatic moment but Malaysians did not get to see it on the orders of its owner, Media Prima.

Media Prima, which is believed to be linked to ruling party Umno, controls the country’s four free-to-air private TV stations – TV3, NTV7, TV8 and TV9.

According to a source who requested anonymity, the staff were given ‘directives’ from senior managers on the evening of May 7 not to screen the controversial footage despite one of its stations had captured the whole incident on tape.

“We have the entire visuals of Sivakumar being dragged out of the chair. However, we received instructions from the top not to screen it,” the source said.

sivakumar being dragged abused manhandled by security unknown individual out perak state assembly chaos 070509 the bestThe directives, added the source, were believed to be given verbally as there was not enough time for the management to issue a written notice.

Despite the directives, one of the television stations under the Media Prima group “accidently” aired the footage the next day – during deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong’s press conference, who was claiming that she did not abuse her power in taking over from Sivakumar as speaker.

sivakumar being dragged abused manhandled by security unknown individual out perak state assembly chaos 070509 02“The footage (of Sivakumar being dragged out) was shown in fast-forward mode, but soon after that we were instructed to write a memo to our bosses,” said the source.

The explanation, said the source, is believed to be sent to news and current affairs director Kamarulzaman Zainal.

“We had to write a memo as to why we showed the footage so they would know who should be blamed for it,” added the source.

Ordered to use archive footage instead

The television stations were told to use footage other than those from the May 7 assembly in their reports.

“We were told to use archives for our visuals, for example, visuals from the courts and other state assembly proceedings,” the source added.

The source also said that they were not allowed to broadcast footage of the arrests outside the state assembly building, where close to 100 individuals, including opposition parliamentarians and state representatives, were arrested.

Such directives are not new in Media Prima as a TV station under its stable were given similar instructions not to name political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda when reporting on the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case last month.

dragged out of the chamber

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