Sunday, October 05, 2008

The incongruity of the Malaysian press

What is it about the Malaysian press that prompts them to report on a person's death in so much gory detail?

For example, a story in today's Sunday Star about a bus crash in Johor Bahru includes the following paragraphs:

“The impact of the crash caused the driver's heart to be torn from his body and sliced into two. One part of the heart was in the bus and the other flung outside.

“The victim's son, in his 20s, was seen weeping over his father's body while the heart was placed inside a tissue box.”

Do we really need to know that?

I would imagine that kind of reporting would cause a great deal of distress to the victim's family.

And when I was getting a haircut yesterday, I was reading another local paper which had a photograph of some jewelery shop robbers who had been shot dead by the police after a high speed car chase.

The photographer had taken a low angle shot (for dramatic effect no doubt) showing one of the robbers with his brains blown out in the foreground and blood trickling from his mouth towards the camera.

And yet if a newspaper in Malaysia publishes a photograph of a stone statue in a park or a museum, or the work of a master painter in an art gallery, they must place a black box over any bare breasts.

There's something incongruous about pictures of dead bodies being okay for the public to see, but not the top half of a stone statue.

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