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Framing The Fight Against Terror: Order Versus Liberty in the Mainstream and Alternative Media
Unformatted Document Text:  ICA-6-10348 10 example, a member of parliament from the opposition DAP was quoted telling an international conference: “There is a tendency in the part of the ruling government to link these suspected terrorists to the legitimate opposition party PAS” (Loone, 2002). Malaysiakini also ran an AFP story, quoting analysts, titled “Fear of militancy boosts Mahathir through by-election win.” The many articles in which lawyers and detainees challenged the very existence of KMM lent further credence to the view that the arrests were politically motivated. Media cover-up Malaysiakini did not leave it to people to read between the lines that the government-controlled press was not telling the whole story. It reported allegations of a cover-up on the part of the mainstream news media. One opposition leader, for example, was reported as criticizing what appeared to be a blackout of international news reports about terrorist cells in the region. Apparently, such reports in the foreign press would not have fit into the “national prestige” frame described above. The detainees themselves were extremely critical of the mainstream media’s role in implicating them. “KMM suspects put media on trial in Suhakam inquiry,” read a Malaysiakini headline on June 19. It quoted a detainee, Zainon Ismail, noting that throughout his testimony, “he kept looking at members of the press seated in the room”: He also pointed out that local TV station TV3 had wrongfully reported statements from witnesses yesterday by stating that suspected KMM members had gone for military training in Afghanistan for five years when in actual fact they were only in Afghanistan for a few months. … Another detainee, Solehan Abu Bakar, also criticised the press and advised Suhakam to hold an inquiry in which the witnesses could talk to the panel face to face without the presence of reporters or camp officials. “The press plays up the matter and the information is not correct. We were labelled bank robbers, assassins, then the police catch us and just conveniently label us,” said the 36-year-old registrar with an Islamic school. (Leong, 2002b)

Authors: George, Cherian.
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ICA-6-10348
10
example, a member of parliament from the opposition DAP was quoted telling an
international conference: “There is a tendency in the part of the ruling government to link
these suspected terrorists to the legitimate opposition party PAS” (Loone, 2002).
Malaysiakini also ran an AFP story, quoting analysts, titled “Fear of militancy boosts
Mahathir through by-election win.” The many articles in which lawyers and detainees
challenged the very existence of KMM lent further credence to the view that the arrests
were politically motivated.
Media cover-up
Malaysiakini did not leave it to people to read between the lines that the
government-controlled press was not telling the whole story. It reported allegations of a
cover-up on the part of the mainstream news media. One opposition leader, for example,
was reported as criticizing what appeared to be a blackout of international news reports
about terrorist cells in the region. Apparently, such reports in the foreign press would not
have fit into the “national prestige” frame described above.
The detainees themselves were extremely critical of the mainstream media’s role
in implicating them. “KMM suspects put media on trial in Suhakam inquiry,” read a
Malaysiakini headline on June 19. It quoted a detainee, Zainon Ismail, noting that
throughout his testimony, “he kept looking at members of the press seated in the room”:
He also pointed out that local TV station TV3 had wrongfully reported
statements from witnesses yesterday by stating that suspected KMM
members had gone for military training in Afghanistan for five years when
in actual fact they were only in Afghanistan for a few months.
… Another detainee, Solehan Abu Bakar, also criticised the press and
advised Suhakam to hold an inquiry in which the witnesses could talk to
the panel face to face without the presence of reporters or camp officials.
“The press plays up the matter and the information is not correct. We
were labelled bank robbers, assassins, then the police catch us and just
conveniently label us,” said the 36-year-old registrar with an Islamic
school. (Leong, 2002b)


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