KUALA LUMPUR — February 24, 2016: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has lambasted the Wall Street Journal for practising what he described as irresponsible journalism.
In this regards, he considers the publication’s persistent attacks on Malaysia and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as based on unsubstantiated allegations and most like non-existent anonymous sources.
“… it is a classic example of extreme irresponsible journalism. It is becoming all too obvious that the WSJ has allowed itself to be used as a conduit
for the snti-Najib campaign,” Salleh said in a statement to Bernama.
Citing the latest article by WSJ, he pointed out that it raised old allegations about Swiss investigations into supposedly 1MDB-linked companies but
failed to mention that the Swiss attorney-general had made it clear that Najib was not being investigated.
“They then claim that ‘a Saudi official said the nation’s finance and foreign ministries had no knowledge of the donation and that such a transfer into the personal bank account of a foreign leader would be unprecedented’ – completely ignoring the fact that the Saudi foreign minister had said the money did come from his country!
“Why does the WSJ ignore these key details, which would be vital to any impartial reporting on this story? Because they are not interested in being impartial, let alone in ethical journalism. They are fully committed – either by being duped, or because of their own agenda – to running down Malaysia and its democratically elected government,” he said.
He added that WSJ also claimed to have heard from one cabinet member, a Saudi official and an interim version of the auditor-general’s report from last year which they claim was leaked to them but did not show proof of these claims.
“Where is the proof for any of this? How do we know that any of these people exist? How do we know that the report is genuine and not fake?” the minister asked.
Salleh then quoted what New York Times editor Margaret Sullivan had said about standards — “Anonymity is a last resort. Editors have a role here… in drawing a hard line by not allowing material from unidentified sources, particularly quotations, to be published. Readers are right to protest when they see anonymity granted gratuitously.”
He pointed out that apart from DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua, everyone quoted in the WSJ article was anonymous.
“This anonymous sourcing is journalism at its worst. So why are the WSJ editors allowing it? Nothing happens by chance at a paper like the WSJ,” he said.
Salleh thus alerted that Malaysians must not be misled by propaganda, lies and smears masquerading as news.
“The real story about Malaysia is different – we are doing well, despite the global economic headwinds.
“The prime minister has a plan, and it’s working. For example, the International Monetary Fund recently praised the government for keeping the
country safe by maintaining stability, and saying that ‘Malaysia’s economy continues to perform well’. And just yesterday, Fitch (Ratings Inc) re-affirmed Malaysia at ‘A-‘ with stable outlook.
“Why was there no mention of this in the WSJ’s latest article? The truth is just too inconvenient for the WSJ. Their anti-Malaysia agenda is becoming
clearer every day,” he said. — Bernama