When politicians do not say anything new, I think we should not report them. Give them publicity for what? For repeating the same old stuff? Yeah, yeah. Journalists must be responsible. Bloggers must be responsible. Tell me something new. Like, hello, who has been irresponsible so far – making all kinds of wild promises before elections, and later, not fulfilling them?
I am beginning to be tired of this word “responsibility”. Because for some, it only means, I should not offend you or that I should not criticise you. But what people do not realise is that freedom to speak means you would have to be prepared for what you say: be prepared to be offended, to be criticised, and yes, to be called irresponsible.
What is responsibility? Reporting the facts. But facts do no thrive in a vacuum. Facts do not lie, statisticians will tell you, yes, but interpretation of it does, the context in which they (facts) are presented can be a lie. So is merely reporting facts make you responsible? I do not think so. To me, it is how you interpret and in what context you present your facts make you either responsible or irresponsible.
It’s becoming like a broken record: bloggers must be responsible, freedom comes with resposibility…bla bla bla..don’t we know it? Even if we are, still the unspeakable can happen to us, like how it did to Rocky and Jeff. So, responsibility by whose standards? This is the question reporters must ask. “What do you mean by responsibility?”
You see, it doesn’t matter what you say or do: if the powers that be want to get you in trouble, they will.
My former boss Steven Gan said this at the recent 6th Perdana Discourse Series entitled ‘Media and National Development’, organised by Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya:
“There is a code of ethics which journalists need to abide to – the dos and don’ts of journalism, so to speak. This include getting the facts right, in exercising discipline in the verification process, in not peddling hearsay as news. All we ask is the freedom to do our job.”
I’d like to ask ‘facts’ according to who? Coz a lot of facts are churned out by the authorities and we are uncertain, at least I am, how far those facts are real or true or representative of what they represent. Sometimes, it is best to go beyond those facts, beyond what is visible, and behind what is proclaimed as truth by super powers.