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Malaysiakini tops on Bersih 3.0 violence reports

Malaysiakini produced the most number of reports among five major news sources on instances of violence during the Bersih 3.0 rally, especially where the victims were journalists or protesters.

It came a close second to Malay daily Utusan Malaysia on reporting violence targeting the police, according to a two-day study by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ).

The study looked at the number of news reports - excluding editorials and commentary - from Malaysiakini, theSun, The Star, New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia, in the days immediately following the rally -  April 29 and 30.

The reports are then categorised based on whether it had mentioned journalists being attacked by the police, protesters being  assaulted by the police, journalists being roughed u by protesters, or police being set upon  by protesters.

Reports saying people were injured without naming the perpetrator were excluded.

azlanIt found that Malaysiakini had mentioned attacks on journalists and protesters by the police 17 times each, attacks on the police 12 times, and the one on TV al-Hijrah videographer Mohd Azri Mohd Salleh by protesters eight times.

Meanwhile, the broadsheet Utusan Malaysia had one article quoting Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng commenting on journalists being beaten by the police, one mention of protesters being attacked by police, five for reporters attacked by protesters, and 14 mentions of police officers being attacked during the pro-electoral reform rally.

English daily theSun, which is not in circulation on weekends including the first day of the study, reported journalists being attacked by police five times, attacks on protesters twice, attacks on the police four times, and no reports of journalists being assualted by protesters.

The Star, also an English daily, had two reports in each category, except for assaults on the police, which was mentioned four times.

Meanwhile, another English daily New Straits Times reported on protesters being attacked by the police and journalists being attacked by protesters twice each, had seven mentions of police being a target for violence, and no reports on journalists being beaten up by the police.

NONEThe findings were presented by CIJ Media Monitor Ding Jo-Ann (right) last night at the launch of the NGO’s annual Freedom of Expression in Malaysia 2011 report, although it is not a part of the report.

Commenting on the findings, she said, “CIJ condemns all forms of violence by anyone against anyone. But I think when you report things in a certain way, you give legitimacy to ‘certain people’ being beaten up by ‘certain people’.”

CIJ does not usually include the online media in its studies, citing the lack of resources and because mainstream print media has a broader reach. However, Ding said it was  possible for this study because of the short study period.

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