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Gobind clears RTM of 'sabotage' in omitting speeches
Published:  Feb 21, 2019 2:37 PM
Updated: 6:48 AM

RTM did not err in failing to broadcast the live speeches of the Negeri Sembilan menteri besar and transport minister, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.

According to Gobind, the public broadcaster was merely following established protocols when it limited on-air live coverage to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s speech.

Gobind was responding to a complaint by Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s aide Lim Swee Kuan, who had claimed that RTM was trying to sabotage the government after the broadcaster failed to air MB Aminuddin Harun and Loke’s speeches at the national Chinese New Year open house in Seremban on Feb 17.

“Regarding the complaint received, the RTM standard operating procedure (SOP) states clearly that when the prime minister attends an official ceremony, then only his speech will be broadcast live through RTM.

“Thus RTM cannot be blamed for not airing the words of a minister and the menteri besar of Negeri Sembilan at the event, given that the prime minister was present,” said Gobind in a statement today.

“The Pakatan Harapan government welcomes constructive criticism which is the right of the people. As the minister responsible, I asked for a report from RTM,” he said.

Gobind conceded that despite the existence of the SOP, there was room for the event organiser to discuss coverage with RTM and make changes.

“This could include providing direct coverage for other individuals, based on the news value. Unfortunately, in this case, no such request was made. So RTM stuck to the SOP, and just posted the Prime Minister's speech,” he said.

He added that the decision to only broadcast Mahathir’s speech had received the consent of the event organiser, namely the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

“Where there is a strong cause, I will not hesitate to reprimand anyone, with the intention of improving our service. But in this case, RTM has not done anything wrong.”

Lim’s criticism of the lack of coverage for Loke’s speech provoked some strong reactions, with some questioning the extent of Harapan control over RTM.

PKR’s Latheefa Koya also said that the aide’s complaint smacked of arrogance.