Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: BERSIH 3.0 Foreign Coverage

   
   
       
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391

    BERSIH 3.0 Foreign Coverage

    BBC vs Astro Censored Programme.

    py

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...p_ipad#photo=1


    Admin: 25,000! Obviously this reporter doesn't know how to count.
    Malaysia police fire tear gas at thousands rallying for fair elections

    About 25,000 Malaysians took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur calling for electoral reforms in the country

    April 28, 2012
    Police officers stand guard behind a barbed wire fence perimeter around Dataran Merdeka, also known as Independence Square, in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian police, backed by helicopters, sealed off the square on Friday to prevent a mass rally by an opposition-backed reform group campaigning for free and fair elections.
    Tim Chong/Reuters
    py

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    py

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Quote Originally Posted by pywong View Post
    BBC vs Astro Censored Programme.
    Of course, it doesn't address the issue of doctoring of the video, only snipping of the length to comply with local censorship of sensitive material.


    Astro says BBC’s Bersih coverage cut to suit local rules

    By Clara Chooi
    May 02, 2012

    Federal Reserve Unit personnel fire tear gas at protesters during the Bersih rally near Dataran Merdeka, in Kuala Lumpur April 28, 2012. — File pic

    KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Astro has admitted to censoring the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Bersih 3.0 coverage but expressed disappointment with the global news channel for failing to understand the satellite pay television provider did so to comply with local guidelines.Astro broadcast operations senior vice-president Rohaizad Mohamed explained to The Malaysian Insider that the 2:16-minute clip was cut in accordance with national content regulations. However, the clip contained shots where Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim spoke to reporters.

    Rohaizad did not divulge further details on what the regulations were but said that Astro reserved the right to “edit” content from international providers and channels as it sees fit.

    “We are surprised and somewhat disappointed that our long-standing partner, the BBC, when, issuing its statement, did not take cognisance of the duty of Astro to comply with local content regulations,” the Astro senior executive said in a statement last night.

    In a statement emailed to The Malaysian Insider on Monday night, BBC complained about Astro’s censorship of its brief coverage of Saturday’s rally, which saw local police fire tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters.

    “We would strongly condemn any blocking of the trusted news that we broadcast around the world including via distribution partners,” a BBC spokesman has said in the statement.

    The British public service broadcaster added that it was making “urgent enquiries” to Astro to seek its reasons for censoring its two-minute coverage of the violent protest.

    According to the YouTube link available in the statement, BBC’s coverage of Bersih 3.0 had been shortened by several seconds to exclude clips of short interviews with two protesters.
    In the first censored interview, a man, believed to be Chinese, had told the BBC that the police took unprovoked action at protesters despite efforts to negotiate.

    “They fired a shot at us and instead of saying sorry, we know it was an accidental shot, they shot some more; we were about to talk and make peace and negotiate but they shot at us,” he said, referring to tear gas fired at the protesters.

    In the next interview, an Indian man had explained his reason for joining the rally for free and fair elections, which had turned violent at nearly 3pm on Saturday.

    “I’m here to see that we have free and fair elections. That’s all.

    “We want the Election Commission (EC) to be independent and clean. At the moment, it is not clean. Okay? So I have to stand here because this is a day of destiny for Malaysians,” he said, amid a backdrop of hundreds standing before the barricades surrounding Dataran Merdeka.

    Local TV operators had also slashed another portion of BBC’s report, which showed scenes of the riot police’s fire-red water cannon trucks firing chemical-laced water at protesters.

    A part of the BBC correspondent Emily Buchanan’s words were also clipped along with the scene.

    “It’s not entirely clear how the violence started,” she had said in the portion of the clip that was aired.

    “... but after the rally was declared a success and people began to go home, the barriers were breached...,” she said in the censored portion.

    “... and the authorities fired tear gas at the crowds,” she continued, as the scene continued.

    This is not the first time local censors have slashed media coverage of Bersih’s protests in Malaysia.

    Following the election watchdog’s last July 9 rally, censors had blacked out parts of an article in The Economist, which had called Putrajaya’s handling of the event overzealous.

    The article titled “Taken to the cleaners — an overzealous government response to an opposition rally” had chronicled the chaos on July 9 when police fired chemicals to disperse tens of thousands who had gathered to demand electoral reforms.

    Among the parts blacked out were mentions of the heavy-handedness by the police and accusations that the government had withdrawn its offer for protesters to use a stadium for the rally.

    The Home Ministry had also used black ink to blot out portions of the article that mentioned the death of one protester and the alleged bombardment of chemicals into the compound of the Tung Shin Hospital.

    Last Saturday’s opposition-backed rally, Bersih’s third since 2007, has already received negative coverage in the foreign media, many of which have predicted a likely backlash for the Najib administration.

    According to BBC, “despite the massive turnout, the government appears to be in no mood for change and there could be an election in June, too soon for major reforms to take effect.
    “That means many more political battles ahead."
    py

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Apologize, meh. Isn't it the right of local media to edit as they see fit?

    NST apologises to Aussie senator

    http://malaysiakini.com/news/196866

    The New Straits Times has apologised to Australian senator Nicholas Xenophon over a report which claimed he made an anti-Islam speech in Australia's Parliament in 2009.

    In a statement today published on NST's website, the daily said that it had made a "grave error" in publishing the statements in the article.

    "We accept that in his speech in the Australian Parliament referred to in the article, Mr Xenophon did not use the word 'Islam' and neither did he assert that Islam is not a religious organisation but a criminal organisation hiding behind its religious belief.

    "For the above reason, we hereby retract all the statements contained in the article against Mr Xenophon and unreservedly and unconditionally apologise to him for any distress or embarrassment caused by the article.

    "As a further mark of our contrition, we have also removed the article from our online version of the newspaper with immediate effect," read the statement.

    In an article titled Observer under scrutiny, the NST reports that Xenophon had told Australia's Parliament the following:

    "What we are seeing is a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality. On the body of evidence, this is not happening by accident; it is happening by design. Islam is not a religious organisation. It is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs."
    Xenophon: Attempt to discredit me

    The article also claimed that Xenophon supported same sex marriages.

    However, the Sydney Morning Herald in a report today Xenophon did not utter the word "Islam" and that the subject of his criticism was in fact scientology.

    The SMH reported that the word "scientology" was replaced with "Islam" in the NST report in order to discredit Xenophon, who is a friend of PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

    "He told the SMH last night that the word switch was an example of the kind of dirty tricks the ruling party employs and had used against (Anwar)," read the report.

    Xenophon was among several foreign observers at the Bersih 3.0 rally. He was highly critical of the local media coverage and police reaction to the rally participants.

    He was part of a international seven-member team who were on a three day fact-finding mission on Malaysia's electoral system. They were commissioned by Anwar, as Parliamentary opposition leader.


    View comments (19)
    py

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Aussie senator to sue NST, calls anti-Islam report ‘sickening’


    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/m...ort-sickening/

    By Clara Chooi
    May 04, 2012

    KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Australian Senator Nicholas Xenophon has confirmed he will sue the New Straits Times (NST), accusing the Umno-controlled Malaysian daily of jeopardising his safety by publishing an article portraying him as anti-Islam.

    The independent lawmaker said he was aware of the newspaper’s decision to retract its report but said he would still seek legal redress in either or both Australia and Malaysia.

    “I will be conferring with both Malaysian and Australian lawyers on this.
    “This is a very serious defamation and it is distressing.

    “My views on Islam were completely fabrication... I am sickened,” he said in a phone call to The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

    The NST had yesterday admitted to having falsely quoted Xenophon (picture) in its article on Wednesday as calling Islam a “criminal organisation” during his 2009 speech in Australia’s Parliament.

    But according to Hansard, the senator, a known associate of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, had instead used the label to criticise “Scientology”.

    “Of course this has become a danger to me. I have been accused of something incredibly serious... of disparaging Islam in the most disgusting way.
    “I have already been advised that my safety is now in danger,” he said.

    Xenophon pointed out that although NST had pulled its article from its website, it had already likely been read by thousands of netizens.

    He stressed that he was in no way against Islam and instead has great respect for the religion.

    “How could they do this?” he asked. “I have tremendous respect for the people of Malaysia... Malaysians are my friends.”

    He added that he had been in Malaysia as a part of the opposition-commissioned international team of observers during the Bersih 3.0 weekend, not merely on invitation but due to his “passion” for the country and its people.

    “So this is something I must do, something I need. I need a court ruling on what had occurred,” he said, referring to his decision to proceed with the legal suit.
    When asked, however, if he would seek out the Malaysian government to mete punitive action against the NST, Xenophon said he would first consult his lawyers.
    But he said the fact that the prominent English daily is Umno-owned “adds seriousness to the case”.

    “I cannot fathom how they would stoop this low,” he said.

    In its response to the incident yesterday, the NST had also pledged to publish an “appropriate statement” on the issue both in its print and online versions, adding its regret to any distress the incident may have caused the independent Australian senator.

    The NST’s response, in verbatim, is as follows:

    “We refer to the news regarding Mr Nicholas Xenophon’s complaint in respect of the article entitled ‘Observer Under Scrutiny’ with a sub-title ‘Impartiality Questioned: Anti-Islam Australian Lawmaker Comes Under Fire’, which appeared in the May 2, 2012 edition of the New Straits Times published by us.

    “We regret that the article attributes certain statements to Xenophon, particularly the use of the word ‘Islam’ which he did not make in a parliamentary speech in November 2009. We are taking steps to make amends including publishing an appropriate statement in our newspaper and its online version to address the issue.

    “We truly and sincerely regret that Xenophon has suffered any distress and embarrassment arising from the article and we honestly believe that that steps we are taking to make amends will resolve the matter.”

    According to the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) yesterday, Xenophon had said that NST’s alleged use of the word “Islam” to replace the actual term “Scientology”, which he had criticised in his 2009 speech, was “an example of the kind of dirty tricks the ruling party employs and had used against the Opposition Leader Anwar”.

    The NST has since removed the article from its website, but cached copies can still be found of the offending story.

    In the NST article, Xenophon was not only accused of insulting Islam during his 2009 adjournment speech in Australia’s Parliament, but was also said to have expressed strong support for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

    The NST’s extract of the speech quoted the senator as saying: “What we are seeing is a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality. On the body of evidence, this is not happening by accident; it is happening by design. Islam is not a religious organisation. It is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs.”

    But in the excerpt from the Australian Parliament’s Hansard, cited in the SMH, Xenophon had actually said: “What we are seeing is a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality. On the body of evidence, this is not happening by accident; it is happening by design. Scientology is not a religious organisation. It is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs.”

    A cached version of the article can be accessed here.

    According to the NST, Xenophon had also appeared to express support for same-sex marriages in the same adjournment speech, purportedly claiming that other lawmakers agreed with him and such unions would eventually be allowed by law.
    The paper quoted PKR-turned-independent MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim as criticising Xenophon for his words, saying that the latter was not only outspoken against Islam but also supportive of the LGBTs.

    “Should we let someone like Xenophon influence our culture and moral values through politics? By confiding in Xenophon, is Anwar also supporting the LGBT movement?” he asked, according to the NST.

    SMH, however, did not dispute the NST’s report over Xenophon’s alleged support for homosexuality.

    Xenophon was among a team of international observers or “pre-election assessment team” invited to Kuala Lumpur by Anwar to look into the country’s electoral reform attempts.

    The team was on a six-day mission from April 25 and was tasked to interview local government and political leaders, before compiling its recommendations on how Malaysia could have a clean and fair polls process, which the country’s opposition leaders have insisted does not exist here.

    They had also observed last Saturday’s rally for free and fair elections by Bersih and in an immediate response to the event, Xenophon had insisted that the rally-goers were well-behaved and even festive, instead of unruly as claimed by government leaders.

    As a result, Xenophon has come under fire for his allegedly blinkered support for Anwar, with questions raised over his independence and impartiality.

    py

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    NST snafu: Canberra’s concern may have hastened apology


    May 04, 2012

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/m...tened-apology/

    KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry had raised its concern over a misleading report from the New Straits Times (NST) citing Senator Nicholas Xenophon with its editors, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported today, in what may have triggered the Malaysian paper’s swift apology yesterday.
    The international daily reported an Australian ministry spokesman as saying Canberra was “concerned and disappointed by a misleading media report” but did not name the official.

    On Wednesday, Xenophon (picture), an independent lawmaker representing South Australia, was falsely quoted by the NST as calling Islam instead of Scientology a “criminal organisation” during his 2009 speech in Australia’s Parliament.

    The English-language daily, the oldest in the country, issued an apology the very next day but Xenophon, a known associate of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has said he will sue the NST for defamation even though the article has been removed from its website.

    “I will be conferring with both Malaysian and Australian lawyers on this.

    “This is a very serious defamation and it is distressing. My views on Islam were completely fabrication... I am sickened,” he said in a phone call to The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

    Xenophon was in a team of international observers or “pre-election assessment team” invited to Kuala Lumpur by Anwar to look into the country’s electoral reform attempts.

    The team was on a six-day mission from April 25 and was tasked to interview local government and political leaders, before compiling its recommendations on how Malaysia could have a clean and fair polls process, which the country’s opposition leaders have insisted does not exist here.

    They had also observed last Saturday’s rally for free and fair elections by Bersih and in an immediate response to the event, Xenophon had insisted that the rally-goers were well-behaved and even festive, instead of unruly as claimed by government leaders.

    As a result, Xenophon has come under fire for his allegedly blinkered support for Anwar, with questions raised over his independence and impartiality.
    py

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Opposition Protest Rattles Confidence of Malaysia's Najib



    Friday, 04 May 2012 Super Admin






    BY CATHERINE CHENEY, Trend Lines

    Over the weekend, tens of thousands Malaysian demonstrators took to the streets to demand electoral reforms from the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Najib Razak. The rally, which ended with Malaysian police arresting more than 450 people amid charges of police brutality, raised questions about whether the government might delay its plans to call early elections.

    Although elections do not need to be held until April 2013, Najib, who has been working to improve his image and bolster public support for his ruling coalition, was expected to hold the polls as early as June.

    “The enormous turnout indicates that there is strong opposition to the government,” John Funston, a Malaysia expert at Australia National University, told Trend Lines. “Najib must secure a majority that is not less than his predecessor in the 2008 election, and one that preferably gives him a parliamentary majority of at least two-thirds.”

    While the 2008 elections allowed the National Front, which has governed Malaysia since its independence from Britain in 1957, to retain power, they provided the opposition with major gains. And Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who preceded Najib as prime minister, lost his position after he failed to obtain a two-third majority in 2008.

    Experts say the recent rallies have rattled Najib’s confidence, particularly because of the 2008 results, and also because similar demonstrations staged in July 2011 led to a decline in his popularity.

    After last year’s demonstrations, some observers wondered whether Bersih, a group of civil society organizations associated with the opposition coalition that seeks to reform the electoral system in Malaysia, would be able to repeat the same level of participation. But the large turnout for the rallies over the weekend revealed that the coalition has only grown stronger.

    “The government will now mobilize all resources to try and prove that Bersih supporters are violent and untrustworthy, and that they will lead the country to ruin. The government has dominant control over the media to do this,” Funston said. “And there will also be further handouts to convince the public that they must remain grateful for what this government has for so long delivered to them.”

    In his efforts to increase his own popularity over the past year, Najib has been competing against the momentum of Bersih, or the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections.

    “[Bersih] campaigned for eight specific objectives, including cleaning the electoral roll, reforming the postal vote, using indelible ink to mark fingers and prevent repeat voting, developing free and fair access to media, and instituting a minimum 21-day campaign period,” Funston explained.

    After the July 2011 protests, Najib established the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to propose measures as part of what Funston calls a surprise and apparently conciliatory move to support electoral reform. However, several of the 22 recommendations the committee presented were problematic.

    “The PSC agreed to take these demands into account, and liaised closely with Bersih in drawing up changes,” he said. “But the result was not what Bersih had hoped for.”

    Some of the problematic recommendations included expanding the right to cast postal ballots to the media as well as to Election Commission staff. Previously limited to teachers, military personnel and policemen, postal votes have been controversial in the past due to the potential for abuse. The committee also recommended a minimum campaign period of 10 days, which improves upon the current seven-day period, but falls short of the 21 days Bersih requested.

    “There are positive elements in the 22 recommendations, but large questions over how and when they might be implemented,” Funston added. “Many of the details surrounding these proposals were controversial.”

    For instance, he said, nearly all proposals are expressions of intent without timelines for implementation. And some key election issues are left out, such as the possibility of international observers, which have not been allowed into Malaysia since 1990, explained Funston.

    “Bersih has therefore concluded that few of its proposals have been accepted, that some recommendations are a further step backward, and that no serious attempt has been made to carry out electoral reform,” Funston said.

    This is what led the group to call for the demonstrations over the weekend, Funston said. If Najib rules out early elections, there will be more time to push forward reforms, both to address the electoral process and to address problems of corruption and racial discrimination, before the next poll.

    py

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Najib's Malaysia still stuck in the murk

    GUEST COLUMNISTS

    Saturday, 05 May 2012 Super Admin


    http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolu...ck-in-the-murk


    Senator Nick Xenophon, who went up last month to join an international team looking at Malaysia's electoral system, has just had a personal lesson in just how slanted and hostile its media can be. After the team published a highly critical report, the New Straits Times newspaper, owned ultimately by the ruling United Malays National Organisation or UMNO, went to work on him.

    Hamish McDonald, The Sydney Morning Herald
    It's an encounter that has gone into the folklore of our diplomatic service.

    An Australian envoy meeting a senior Malaysian official heard a familiar complaint about critical coverage of his country's politics in the Australian media.

    He snapped back: ''The media in Australia are not owned or controlled by the government,'' the envoy said. ''Here they all are, and throughout my time here, I've never seen a favourable report about Australia.''
    Senator Nick Xenophon, who went up last month to join an international team looking at Malaysia's electoral system, has just had a personal lesson in just how slanted and hostile its media can be. After the team published a highly critical report, the New Straits Times newspaper, owned ultimately by the ruling United Malays National Organisation or UMNO, went to work on him.

    It took a passage from one of his old parliamentary speeches on a favourite topic - ''Scientology is not a religious organisation. It is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs'' - and substituted the world ''Islam'' for ''Scientology'' throughout. It's hard to think of a cheaper reporting trick in a strongly Muslim country.
    Australians often trip rather too naively into Malaysia's murky political world. Succumbing to the happy multicultural story of ''Malaysia - truly Asia'' a lot of us don't see the deep racial fears and antipathies swirling in the country's history and heating its politics even today.

    Malaysia is a country of great wealth and many competencies, but despite decades of high growth still falls behind its potential because it hasn't yet shaken itself free of its poisonous beginnings. Riven by massive fraud, waste and economic distortion, it is a country of religious zeal, yet as noted by Bridget Welsh, a political scientist at the Singapore Management University, its political life is dirty.

    ''Murder, sodomy, secret trysts, sex videos and conspiracy are all commonplace, and corruption scandals occur regularly,'' she wrote on the East Asia Forum website recently. ''Both sides wallow in this political gutter, each trying to darken the reputation of the other, and not fully appreciating how much the system as a whole has been damaged.''

    Australia and Australians have often been a convenient diversion from this domestic mudslinging, with sniping reaching low points in the 22 years of Mahathir Mohamad's prime ministership.
    It's getting testy again as Malaysia's current Prime Minister, Najib Razak, heads towards a critical national election trying on one hand to preserve the ethnic dominance endowed in UMNO and on the other to reform the discredited underpinnings of that power.

    Najib took the prime ministership after the UMNO-led ruling coalition suffered a big setback in the last elections, in March 2009, losing the two-thirds majority in Parliament that allowed it to make constitutional amendments and control five of the 13 states to a three-party opposition alliance put together by UMNO's alienated former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

    Najib came with a lot of baggage - notably a kickback scandal on French submarines purchased while he was defence minister, about which two examining magistrates in Paris would like to interview him - but he's tried to wield a new broom.

    A new economic policy is aimed at watering down preferences for ethnic Malays. Stakes have been sold off in bloated public sector enterprises to try to make them more efficient. Last month, the government repealed the colonial-era Internal Security Act, which allowed indefinite detention without trial, and it changed the public assembly law.

    But the reforms haven't resulted in much perceptible change. The UMNO membership is resisting a loss of Malay perks, entrenched cultures remain in public enterprises like the national airline, and a replacement security law has been widely condemned by local and international human rights groups as wide open to similar abuse as the old one.

    One result has been that Najib's personal approval has been running at a high 69 per cent in the opinion polls, while the UMNO coalition's support has been a lacklustre 46 per cent or so, suggesting the public give Najib marks for trying but don't think his efforts will work. About a third of those favouring Najib say they will still vote for Anwar's opposition.

    Najib's support also has flicked sharply downwards when familiar instruments of repression are wielded. A movement for electoral reform called Bersih (meaning ''Clean'') led by a doughty woman barrister, Ambiga Sreenavasan, has had its demonstrations declared illegal and then met with massive police force. The latest was in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday, attended by tens of thousands. Xenophon and other observers shared in a dousing with tear gas and water cannon.
    Bersih's concerns are echoed by the foreign observer group. The electoral system gives wide scope for gerrymandering, with electorate sizes ranging from 7000 to 100,000 voters. Suspiciously, numbers of new voters, over 30 per cent of the previous total, are being registered in opposition-held electorates. Party monitors have just been barred from scrutinising the eligibility of intending voters at polling stations.

    Armed force and police personnel have their votes scrutinised by senior officers, and the 240,000 public servants assigned to election duties are required to make postal votes. But strangely, the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians working overseas or employed away from their home towns are not allowed to make absentee votes. A snap poll - a campaign is usually only about 10 days - means a lot of the country's best and brightest won't have time to return to their place of registry.
    Bersih's experience with the Malaysian traditional media - owned either by the ruling parties in the case of the newspapers and commercial television, or by politically-directed state broadcasters - illustrates the problem of unequal access to campaign coverage. Before its recent mass demonstrations, media stories have linked it variously to Christian, Jewish and communist conspiracies, and even Islamic extremists.

    The internet, with portals like Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today, has given outlets for opposition voices and analysis that reach urban, well educated voters. But rural people get only the slanted pro-government media, at best anodyne, at worse mendacious.

    Xenophon's experience suggests the settings won't change for the election Najib seems about to call. It's a pity, given what Malaysia could be.
    py

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Bersih 3.0, Government 0.0 again?
    Written by Our Correspondent
    Sunday, 29 April 2012

    http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.ph...460&Itemid=178

    Thin blue line? (photo credit: The Sun)

    Police crackdown on rally in Kuala Lumpur once again earns international criticism for government
    Protesters demanding reform of Malaysia’s election laws proved Saturday that they could draw an even bigger crowd than they did in July 2011, with attendance estimated by police at 25,000 and by Bersih at 250,000. Take your pick.

    Both sides were claiming propaganda victory in the aftermath. Bersih 3.0, the 150-member coalition of NGOs for free and fair elections, said they had accomplished their goal of drawing massive numbers of protesters to the center of Kuala Lumpur in defiance of the ban on assembly in the historic Independence Square. Government officials said the police had acted responsibly in attempting to control the crowd only to have firebrands charge police lines and overturn a police car. More than 60 protesters were injured along with 11 police, authorities said.

    In any case, the event focuses the spotlight on claims that the government, led by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, has refused to accede to Bersih’s recommendations to reform the electoral process. Those recommendations included cleansing the electoral rolls, reforms of absentee voting, the use of indelible ink to mark voters’ fingers after voting to thwart repeat voting, a minimum campaign period of 21 days, and fair access to the media – a proposal almost impossible to fulfill, since the three major political parties own all the major mainstream news outlets, all of which have been reporting negatively on the plans for the protest.

    Bersih has complained that only the indelible ink recommendation was accepted. Bersih also complained that the government pushed through a 3 a.m. measure in parliament to remove the right of candidates or their representatives to observe voter registrations on election day so that opposition leaders would be unable to spot phantom voters, and removed a requirement that all printed materials bear the name of the printer and publisher from campaign materials.

    “The government will likely point to the late confrontation and violence as protester-instigated and try to blame them for the need to use a bit of force,” said a longtime western observer. “I doubt that view will get much public traction, however. The government will also say they used great restraint, which was true up until the end. We'll know better when arrests and body counts of injured, etc. are known.”

    For starters, it appeared that the government had miscalculated by banning the rally in the first place. Home Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein earlier on had said the rally hadn’t “gained much traction,” and that it wasn’t a security threat. However, hardliners apparently won out, with the Kuala Lumpur city government banning the event only to have protesters show up from all over the country.

    In the end it also appeared that police hadn’t learned the lessons from Bersih 2.0, the July 2011 rally in which 1,600 people were arrested and many more were beaten and brutalized, earning international condemnation for authorities.

    Certainly, once again the international press appeared to be firmly on the side of the protesters, with news reports pretty much uniformly leading with police unleashing “tear gas and chemical-laced water Saturday at thousands of demonstrators who demanded fair rules for national elections expected soon.”

    Although Bersih leaders acknowledged they had lost control of the crowd when the rally ended and a group described as “a few hundred” attempted to push past police barriers to enter the square, clearly seeking to provoke and be arrested in an attempt to win sympathy, it appeared that once again police had overreacted, beating, tear-gassing and dousing those left with chemical laced water from water cannons.

    Certainly if the demonstrators were seeking to provoke the police, they got their wish. Both the local and international press including the television network Al Jazeera were filled with pictures of police battering demonstrators with tear gas, beating and kicking them and dragging them away. Some 488 protesters were arrested. News photographers complained that they were arrested and that their cameras were confiscated and emptied when they tried to film the violence.

    Leaving aside the violence that marred the episode, “I think it shows that the Bersih movement is still on the rise and can pull more and more people into political action,” said the western observer. “Groups were going into the fray knowing that the government and police had announced that it was banned in advance and that they could be arrested. The demonstrators were clearly not cowed or afraid of the authorities. So that plus the sizeable turnout probably means a ‘victory’ for protesters.”

    Also the crowd was mixed ethnically, contradicting pro-government assertions that the backbone was made up of minorities, primarily Chinese. With opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, the Democratic Action Party and Parti Islam se-Malaysia, or PAS playing a bigger role, the confrontation had a more clearly opposition flavor than the demonstration that took place in July 2011.

    “The opposition proved once again that they can mobilize and organize a very large multi-racial crowd,” said another observer. “Bersih 3.0 was an impressive achievement.”

    At stake for both sides is the upper hand in national elections expected to be called in June, with parliament probably being dissolved sometime in May, as the Barisan Nasional, or national governing coalition, squares off against the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition led by Anwar. Wong Chin Huat, a university professor and member of the Bersih steering committee, told Asia Sentinel the organization intends to keep pressure on the Election Commission for political reform.

    “We will continue the momentum from of the rally, we will press for international observers, we will continue our demands for free and fair elections,” Wong said. “We want the public to be aware, to express their objections, and put more pressure on the Election Commission over their questionable political reforms.”

    Wong said Bersih had made its point clearly to the thousands of protesters, instructing them not to foment violence, only to have a small group surge into police barriers surrounding the square. The police, he said, overreacted. He himself was beaten and had his glasses knocked off well after the protest had ended as he was walking back from a meeting, he charged. He saw many others being beaten and mistreated as well, he said, with as many as 30 policemen “using a protester like a football.”
    py

Visitors found this page by searching for:

Bersih campaign in singapore by catherine chung

bersih 3 foreign reporting

the bersih rally receive a wide coverage

bbc coverage on bersih 3

organisation bersih 3.0

singapore coverage on bersih

international coverage of bersih 3.0

bersih 3.0 april 28 25000

singapore high commission staff at bersih 3 rally kl latest

foreigners joined bersih rally

observers for the bersih 3.0 rally

bersih 3.0 bbc configuration (25 000)

bersih 3 rally handled by hospital KL

bbc’s coverage of bersih 3.0 rally in kuala lumpur

bersih 3.0 organisor catherine chung singapore

catherine chung Malaysian bersih supporter

bersih 3.0 singapore supportes catherine chung

bersih 3.0 foreign reporting

astro senior management rohaizat

bbc coverage on bersih

catherine chung bersih supporters gather in singapore

bersih 3 foreign report

bersih 3.0 date

berseh 3 foreign report

bersih foreign reports

SEO Blog

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •