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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Editor: Source materials did not link Anwar to Lahad Datu

A TV3 news editor today testified that reports by Reuters and Filipino news organisations did not cite PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim as the "dalang" (puppet master) behind the Lahad Datu incursion in 2013.
Kamaruddin Mape, 48, said this after being asked to read three news articles while under cross-examination by Anwar's lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan and identify if her client was identified by these news reports.
Kamaruddin is a defence witness in Anwar's RM100 million defamation suit against TV3 and Utusan MalaysiaUtusan retracted their article on expressed regret to Anwar last October.
Earlier, Kamaruddin agreed with Ambiga's suggestion that televisions must report the truth in the public's interest. Ambiga questions had also established that the TV3 report was based on the Utusan report that was eventually retracted.
Ambiga: Were you instructed to do or come up with the report which appeared on Buletin Utama on March 2, 2013?
Kamaruddin: I saw it (in Utusan) and asked the then news editor Ashraf Abdullah. He gave the green light.
Ambiga: As a newscaster for 20 years' and a journalist, did you fact check?
Kamaruddin: I will normally do research and conduct checks. I checked the source itself that is all the three mentioned (news organisations) - the Philippines National InquirerReuters and Manila Times. I read the articles from their (respective) websites.
Ambiga: Was the entire (TV3) report is based on an Utusan article?
Kamaruddin: I was confident (with the veracity of) Utusan's article and the sources cited.
Two offending paragraphs
It was at this point where Ambiga showed the three relevant news articles to Kamaruddin.
Kamaruddin took his time to read through the articles before agreeing with Ambiga that the articles did not suggest Anwar was a "dalang".
However, Kamaruddin pointed out that the Reuters article did mention Anwar having met an opposition figure from Sabah.
Ambiga: You checked the source, it is from Utusan. (Yet) it does not appear in the Reuters article. It doesn't, does it not?
Kamaruddin: I cannot answer.
Ambiga: Where then did you get the two offending paragraphs from? It is a serious allegation. Is it from Utusan?
Kamaruddin: From Utusan which is in page two.
Ambiga: When you read Reuters and Utusan and other reports, did it not occur to you to check the accuracy of the Utusan report? Did you think (about) why Utusan is saying this when Reuters or others did not say it?
Kamaruddin: I am not sure.
Ambiga: Where was it reported in the Manila Times that Anwar is one of the three "dalang" of the incursion?
Kamaruddin: [Long pause]
Ambiga: It is not there right?
Kamaruddin: Yes.
'No malice involved'
Following this, Ambiga showed a transcript of the Buletin Utama report quoting Philippine intelligence stating that Anwar was behind the attack.
Ambiga: Is this allegation a serious one, since it effectively claims Anwar is a traitor (while his actions) resulted in the bloodshed?

Kamaruddin: I cannot answer the question.
Ambiga: I am putting to you that the impression that you were giving, in citing that the Philippine intelligence, was to accuse Anwar being the "dalang" behind the Lahad Datu incident that caused bloodshed.
Kamaruddin: I cannot answer.
When examined by TV3's lawyer TH Liew, Kamaruddin agreed that he did not attempt to seek verification from Anwar on Utusan's report.
"There is no malice. Absolutely not. I do not know the plaintiff personally. The report on the matter is of public interest and I am carrying duty as a responsible media news organisation," he said.- Mkini

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