Wednesday, November 15, 2006

MPI wants council to apologise

Wednesday November 15, 2006
The Star Newspaper
MPI wants council to apologise

KUALA LUMPUR: The Penang Municipal Council has been urged to make a public apology relating to the video recording of a woman journalist’s thighs during the council meeting last Friday.

Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) chairman Datuk Azman Ujang said the highly embarrassing incident should not have happened and could be settled out of court with an open apology. “I feel the council should apologise to resolve the problem, especially the president who had remarked that the journalist was improperly dressed when covering the meeting,” he told Bernama after the Malaysian Journalist Night 2006 contribution presentation here yesterday.

He was commenting on the incident where a closed circuit camera had focused on the thighs of New Straits Times reporter Melissa Darlyne Chow when the meeting was being held.

Penang Municipal Council president Datuk Abu Bakar Hassan was reported to have said later that the incident would not have happened if the dress worn by the New Straits Times reporter was not sexy. Abu Bakar has since denied making such a remark.

Azman said each organisation had the right to impose a code of ethics on journalists’ dressing, but in the incident, he had found that the dress worn by the journalist was proper.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the council must apologise publicly to the reporter. She said no amount of reasons and excuses from the council should detract the public from the fact that the reporter was sexually harassed.

“Abu Bakar is wrong to focus the entire issue on the attire of the journalist and the council must further enact policies that promotes zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the council,” she said in a statement here yesterday.

She said CCTV cameras were installed using taxpayers’ money to record proceedings of the meeting and any attempt to use the cameras for other purposes constituted abuse of power and public funds. “And in this instance, the use of the cameras to visually violate the journalist is all the more unacceptable and insulting to all women,” she said. The reporter has lodged a police report over the incident and investigations are ongoing.

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