|Four private television stations have been ordered not
to name political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda when
reporting the Altantuya Shaarriibuu murder case.
Malaysiakini has learnt that the
top management of Media Prima Berhad –
the owner of the four TV stations –
had issued a directive on the matter.
The media giant, which is believed to be
linked to ruling party Umno, controls
the country’s four free-to-air private TV stations –
TV3, ntv7, 8TV and tv9.
The directive was part of an email sent on behalf
of the group director of news and current affairs,
elevision networks, Kamarulzaman Zainal.
Kamarulzaman was press secretary to
Abdullah Ahamd Badawi when the former
premier was deputy PM. He was appointed
to helm Media Prima soon after Abdullah
took power in 2003.
The email listed four ‘don’ts’ involving
news reports relating to the high-profile murder
case of Mongolia national Altantuya, who was
mistress of Razak Baginda (left).
The TV stations were ordered not to mention
Razak Baginda’s name and ignore all news
background related to him.
Editors were instead told to focus their
reports on the two accused in the murder trial,
who were sentenced to death last week.
Razak Baginda, a close confidant of newly-minted
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, was charged
with abetting the murder but was later freed.
The controversial court decision had sparked
off a fresh round of speculations that the
powers-that-be had a hand in the acquittal.
Don’t show footage of Razak Baginda
Not only that the political analyst’s name
should not be mentioned, visuals showing him
in previous trials and after his release are also
banned, according to the email.
The other two restrictions were related
to the new premier.
The TV stations were barred from reporting that Najib
nd his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were linked
to the case.
Also, statements from those accusing Najib
and Rosmah of being involved in the case
were also prohibited.
It is not clear whether Media Prima has been
instructed by government officials to ‘cleanse’
the three key personalities from the Altantuya case.
The email, which has been widely circulated
in the company, was sent last week to editors
of all different language sections within
the Media Prima group.
An assistant from Kamarulzaman’s office told Malaysiakini that his boss was currently overseas and
would not be available to comment on the directive.
There is also no response to an email sent
The Media Prima ban came hot in the heels
of a blackout by state-owned RTM on reporting
the on-going political crisis in Terengganu.
Malaysiakini has reported on
Wednesday that RTM blacked out news on the apparent boycott of the Terengganu state
assembly sitting by 10 state representatives
earlier this week. This was however denied by the government.
for Razak Baginda’s company
Last week, two police special action force personnel –
chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar
– were sentenced to death by the Shah Alam High Court
for murdering Altantuya.
The two, who were part of a security detail to
protect VIPs including Najib, have since appealed
to the higher court.
Since the case hit the headlines, Najib has been
forced to repeatedly deny having any links with
Altantuya and the murder case.
When Najib was defence minister, a company
controlled by Razak Baginda was awarded a
‘commission’ of RM534.8 million for the purchase
of two Scorpene submarines from France.
The government has denied that the contract given
Perimekar was a hefty commission but for the compnay
“to prepare support and coordination services” for a
period of six years.
The opposition has been exploiting both issues to
attack Najib’s integrity, especially during the three
key by-elections earlier this month.
This had prompted the police to issue a gag order
on all political ceramah from raising the controversial