Wednesday March 13, 2002
Time magazine apologises to MalaysiaKUALA LUMPUR, March 13 (Reuters) - Time magazine apologised to Malaysia for an issue picturing the nation's flag and Osama bin Laden on the front cover and a tourism promotion for the country on the back, officials said on Wednesday.
But a Time spokeswoman said the magazine had only apologised for running the tourism advertisement in the February 11 issue and not for the cover story.
The apology comes a week after another U.S.-owned news weekly, the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER), apologised to the Thai government for misunderstandings a story deemed offensive to its monarchy.
Time is published by a unit of New York-based AOL-Time Warner Inc, while FEER is a publication of Dow Jones & Co.
Malaysia delayed the distribution of Time magazine in the country after being angered by its February 11 issue.
The edition's front cover carried an image of bin Laden, the chief suspect of the September 11 attacks on the United States, together with a pair of automatic rifles over the Malaysian flag alongside the headline "Inside Malaysia's Terror Network".
The back cover featured an advertisement promoting tourism in the country.
Officials said Time had made a mockery of the country.
"The incident has ended, The cabinet is satisfied (with the apology)," Malaysia's Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.
Abdul Kadir said Andrew Butcher, Time's London-based publisher, had apologised in a letter.
He said Time's Asian editor Karl Taro Greenfeld and regional marketing manager had also met him and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on the matter.
"It's alright if someone says it's a mistake and seeks an apology, we accept it," the minister said.
The cover story described Malaysia as a Southeast Asian financial planning centre for the al Qaeda terror group run by bin Laden.
"The placement of the ad was a mistake," Azmar Sukandar, the Hong Kong-based public relations manager for Time Asia, told Reuters.
The issue came on the heels of other foreign magazine reports which had painted Malaysia as a safe house for al Qaeda operatives -- a charge Kuala Lumpur strongly denied.
Malaysia blocks release of three international magazinesKUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25, 2002 (AFP)
Malaysia has blocked the distribution of three international news magazines, apparently because of government displeasure over foreign media coverage, publishing sources said Monday.
Friday, March 1st 2002|
Latest Newsweek out but FEER, Time withheldThe latest edition of Newsweek has made it to the newsstands but the government continues to withhold the latest issues of two other American magazines, the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) and Time.
“Our Feb 25 issue is now being circulated in Malaysia and we are optimistic that circulation of future issues is now being resolved,” said Newsweek’s Hong Kong-based communications director Ken Weine via email today.
Local distributor Magazine Services also confirmed that Newsweek had hit the stores but said the other two magazines are yet to receive the green light from the Home Affairs Ministry.
Thursday, February 28, 2002
Distribution of three magazines delayedKUALA LUMPUR: The Home Ministry has delayed the distribution of several issues of three international magazines for “inaccurate and untrue reporting of the situation in Malaysia”.
The approval for circulation of six issues of the Far Eastern Economic Review for January and February had been delayed.
Two issues of Newsweek, including its Feb 4 edition, which quoted a Federal Bureau of Investigation report as saying that Malaysia was a launch pad for the Sept 11 attacks, had been delayed.
Its Feb 11 issue, which had an image of Prophet Mohammad, has also been stopped from hitting the streets. Other countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh also took a similar decision on the Feb 11 issue of Newsweek.
Time magazine had three issues, starting from Feb 4 delayed while its Feb 25 issue was placed “under review’’.
Another international magazine, The Economist, is also affected, with the Feb 23 to March 1 issues placed “under review’’ for articles on the foreign workers issue.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung, when contacted, said the ministry did not normally withhold or delay the publications but this did not mean the Government was not monitoring the publications.
“Foreign news magazine are readily available here but we do expect them to give a balanced report of the situation in the country. It is unfair on the part of the correspondent to give views without checking the facts,’’ he said.
Chor said the ministry did not deliberately delay the circulation of foreign magazines.
Citing Newsweek’s Feb 11 issue, he said it was stopped from circulation as the article “compared Islam and Christianity” and “for its lopsided reporting which may cause confusion among the public’’.
“We don’t want the society to be contaminated by unhealthy and unfit news for readers,’’ said Chor, who warned that the ministry would take appropriate action if it found that the publications published “inaccurate reports with the intention to smear the country’s name’’.
To a question, Chor said that he would not like to jump to the conclusion that the foreign media had a hidden agenda towards Malaysia but noted that the United States’ government official stand on Malaysia differed from the stand taken by the American magazines.
“The US ambassador to Malaysia said his Government appreciates Malaysia’s efforts against terrorism but the magazines seem to indicate a different stand towards Malaysia.
“The accusation that Malaysia is a launching pad for t terrorists is something we cannot accept,’’ he said.
A Home Ministry official said that the delay in the magazines was to “send a message to the magazines to print the truth and not report based on half-baked sources’’.
He said the writers should share information with the Government, when they claim to possess information on terrorists or terrorist acts.