Saturday, September 25, 2010

Former NUJ chief alleges move to sack new president

As published @ http://www.themalaysianinsider.comBy Adib Zalkapli
September 23, 2010KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Sacked Utusan Malaysia journalist Amran Ahmad claimed today that National Union of Journalists president Hata Wahari could suffer a similar fate as the publication has been attempting to link him with the opposition.Amran, who was the chairman of NUJ-Utusan Melayu before his dismissal, said he was also accused of being a DAP supporter while serving as a reporter with the Umno-owned daily.“NUJ has never been a supporter of any political party. When I was there they accused me being a DAP agent, because my father was a DAP MP,” said Amran whose father, the late Ahmad Noor, served as DAP MP in early 1990s.“I think the same thing is going to happen to Hata, now they are trying to make him look like an opposition supporter,” he told The Malaysian Insider.Amran was sacked in September last year following a report he made to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over procurements made by Utusan Melayu Berhad, the company that publishes Utusan Malaysia.“It is not right to accuse Hata of being partisan, even if Pakatan (Rakyat) takes over and they try to control the media, I am sure NUJ would oppose the move too,” said Amran. In a report yesterday, Utusan Malaysia quoted Perkasa supreme council Zahid Md Arif who described Hata as being pro-opposition.Today, the daily carried a statement by the president of Utusan Melayu Veterans Club Datuk Raja Ahmad Niza Ismail, who called on Hata to resign for making statements inconsistent with Utusan’s principles.Hata had, in a statement early this week, attempted to distance the Malay daily’s reporters in disputes between Utusan and political leaders from Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR).The NUJ president claimed that the union regretted what he called partisan reporting, saying that it did not benefit the Malay daily, its reporters or journalism, in a thinly-veiled reference to Utusan’s attack on Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz over his critique of Malay rights group Perkasa.Today, Hata said he was willing to face any action arising from his statement as NUJ chief.“There is a possibility, because they have the power. But if I have to face any action for defending press freedom, so be it,” he told The Malaysian Insider.Hata explained that his statement was not meant to undermine Utusan Malaysia but to defend the union’s members who chose to remain neutral.He also dismissed Raja Ahmad Niza’s call for him to resign.“As NUJ president, I am glad that he is no longer part of Utusan,” said Hata.“Only those who are politically impartial, uphold journalistic ethics, should remain in Utusan,” he added.NUJ represents some 1,300 members from eight media organisations

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