The media can do better in the Icerd debate

Opinion  |  Eric Loo
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | For a moment, Malaysians came together in grief over the MH370 and MH17 tragedies.

Four years on, the proposed ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) has again rattled the racist agitators. The media can do better to bring back rational talk on an issue that demagogues have exploited to pander to their base.

Journalists are in principle colour blind. They know no class or creed distinction. But the doctrine of impartiality in reporting has its logical limits. There are exceptions when the minions of Umno and PAS raise false flags on UN conventions that are designed to “guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law.”

While the media routinely cover the alarmist protests of anti-Icerd reactionaries, journalists owe it to their readers to provide a context as to why the convention was first written and finally adopted by the UN General Assembly in December of 1965.

Absent in various reports is contextualising of the issue, especially in Bahasa Malaysia, where imagined fears from ratifying Icerd are rife among the Malay population.

Malaysiakini and other news portals have rightly published commentaries and background reports on Icerd. But these are few in between – particularly articles in Bahasa Malaysia to inform and educate the Malay readership.

Journalists should spike any wanton disinformation and fact-check the reactionaries’ claim that ratifying the Icerd will...

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