Editors plagiarism charge doesnt stick

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I refer to the letter NST must probe group editor's alleged plagiarism . I, too, followed with interest the allegation of New Straits Times group editor's Brendan Pereira's supposed plagiarism of Mitch Albom's article.

However, after reading and comparing the two writings, I find it to be an unfair accusation. Although, the style of writing is very similar, one cannot exactly say it was plagiarism as the content of the articles were not the same. For a charge of plagiarism to stick, one has to steal more ie. the same idea/facts.

Albom wrote his on the anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks. He used that style of writing to reminisce on the times before the attack while Pereira used the same style to talk about the days before Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's spat with Pak Lah. As such, the content, intention and opinion of both the articles are very different in nature.

Yes, the style is very alike. But at most, one can only accuse Pereira for the lack of originality. But writing is such an endeavour that it is near impossible to come up with 'original' styles every single day.

A simple test would be to Google books, songs, poems etc which start with the ever green phrase 'Once upon a time' and you will see the literally thousands of hits returned.

Anyone who writes for a living will testify how difficult and what a struggle it is to come up with original stuff every day. Although this is not an excuse, this point should be taken into context before a charge of style plagiarism is levelled at someone. More so when they are levelled by those who are disenchanted with the NST for their own reasons.

For information on plagiarism, please refer here .

Editor's note: The NSTP today announced that Brenden Pereira will end his term of service as group editor of NST on Dec 31. The company said that Pereira expressed his intention to quit late last year and the decision to accept his resignation was made earlier this year. It rejected the allegations of plagiarism.

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