Saturday, February 25, 2006

What is Radio Television Malaysia (RTM)?

Adapted from Malaysia Today

The information ministry excels in passing the buck. It was set up to impart official information speedily so the people would not be swayed by rumours and false news, and its principal channel is Radio Television Malaysia RTM).

RTM has as its goal of being first on the scene and first on the screen. This would take time. The news room is not used to breaking news when it happens. Foreign news agency reports on coups and earthquakes the world over are fair game, but if it reports on Malaysia, it must await political confirmation before the story can be broadcast. Which is why in May 2005 it took RTM two hours to broadcast anything about earthquake tremors which damaged buildings in Malaysia.

Even official information from the right government department, in that instance the Meterological Services Department (MSD), is verboten until corroborated by a higher political authority. Deputy Information Minister Dato' Zainuddin, a former editor, and formerly respected, is in charge of RTM but is obviously not such an authority. "I informed them after midnight, but they could only get confirmation from the MSD at 2.01am" he was quoted as saying, referring to permission to cover the earthquake.

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