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The Star is answerable for mysterious advertorial
Published:  Jun 22, 2013 2:25 AM
Updated: 4:21 AM

YOURSAY 'The content of the advertisement must withstand public scrutiny. If it cannot, any Tom, Dick and Harry can lay claim to anything under the sun.'

VIPs thought Geethanjali behind 'powerful women' list

your say Cala: The fault lies with The Star . There are two problems connected to the said advertisement of The Star on ‘The 10 most powerful women in Malaysia'.

First, as a responsible media, The Star must be ethical by releasing details on the sponsor any advertisement that appears, otherwise, why carry it?

Second, the content of the advertisement must withstand public scrutiny. If it cannot, any Tom, Dick and Harry can lay claim to anything under the sun.

This form of advertisement must stop. If not, for example, can a developer in Kuala Lumpur claim that he is the most responsible developer? Who is to judge him? By what criteria? Is the said developer infringing any laws?

As another example, can an advertisement claim that AirAsia is better than Malaysian Airlines (MAS) in terms of comfort, passenger security and inflight service? Again, who is the judge? What are the criteria?

FellowMalaysian: The content of the full-page 'advertorial' is controversial and the source of the list was not disclosed.

Doesn't The Star have a policy to reject and deny any requests for advertiments deemed 'sleazy' in origin or character?

By denying DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua his series of advertisements on the run-up to GE13, The Star has categorically placed Pua as being 'unclean and filthy'.

However, the proponent of the '10 Most Powerful Women in Malaysia' list seems to be acceptable enough to appear in the newspaper.

Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin: The Star group chief editor Wong Chun Wai called me to "explain" the mysterious advertorial. He said he was not informed of the advertisement before it was published.

His investigations revealed the following:

1. It was bought by an NGO purported to be in the audit field with three Indian directors (presumably Malaysians).

2. It was contracted by a Punjabi man (presumably a Malaysian as well) via an advertising agency called Bloomingdale Sdn Bhd.

I asked two media people from the Prime Minister's Office for their reactions. One said, please don't ask him. The other did not respond.

Timo100: The Star is answerable for the so-called 'advertisement'. How can you publish something without naming the source, or without proper authorisation?

The Star group chief editor should explain to the readers in general, not just to Abdul Kadir Jasin. He is only one reader. Thousands of others pay their subscriptions to The Star as well.

Kosongcafe: Why the fuss over the list? It can be drawn up by anybody and not based on popular votes, it is so subjective that it can only create controversies, and maybe that was the original intention.

Rosmah Mansor is powerful because of her being the wife of the prime minister - who is perceived to be henpecked. Michelle Yeoh is listed because she is a friend of the premier, a known ladies' man. Either of them can get things done through the prime minister.

Ambiga Sreenevasan and the other Pakatan Rakyat leaders are influential because they are truly popular among the people. Marina Mahathir is popular in her own right; in fact, she is the opposite of her dad, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Radio announcer and former beauty queen Geethanjali G? Probably self-appointed or listed by whoever is behind the advertisement.

Francis Siah: Editorially, the advertisement is harmless. It hurts no one, minus the fuss. It makes a few people feel good. Let's be happy for them.

The advertiser is prepared to pay a hefty sum and it's business for The Star . Everyone is happy. So why are some of us so bothered by it?

LittleGiant: According to Dictionary.com, ‘advertorial' is defined as "advertising material presented under the guise of editorial material."

Going by this definition, why should not the readers of The Star take the newspaper to task for publishing the controversial list of '10 Most Powerful Women In Malaysia'?

Can newspapers publish an ‘advertorial' without revealing the identity of the advertiser? Who then takes responsibility for whatever information in the advertorial? Did the people in The Star who agreed to the advertorial believe in the list?

If The Star believed the list to be true, then it is only proper that the newspaper explain on what basis it agreed to publish it for public consumption. The words "powerful women" have far reaching implications and cannot be taken lightly.

Tc: Anyone who buys The Star would most certainly believe the contents in that paper. So, if you place an advertisment - which looks like a news item - there are people who will believe that what is said in the advertisement is true.

The list is a nice mix of women whose faces are recognisable in Malaysia from both sides of the political divide and from the major ethnic groups in the peninsular.

Therefore, whoever placed this advertisement knows that the majority of The Star readers will believe that the most powerful woman in Malaysia is Rosmah.

Unspin: This advertorial may have a similar objective to that of the marriage proposal billboard that an advertising executive had bought for his then girlfriend along the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP) at Kelana Jaya several years ago.

There are probably two women on this list who do not come anywhere close to being one of the most powerful women in Malaysia - Michelle Yeoh and Geethanjali.

Is it possible that a rich husband, boyfriend, or secret admirer is trying to impress one of the women here?

Sunnyd: How about the 10 most powerful men in Malaysia? Let us do a poll here. That will be even more interesting. I would love to see the fireworks after that.


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