KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Business Week International has apologized to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for writing a "rude and threatening" letter to him.
The apology is contained in a letter from its managing editor, Robert Dowling, based in New York, who is responsible for BusinessWeek's international editions and its international correspondents, local news agency Bernama reported on Wednesday.
"I am writing to apologize for any offense taken from a letter sent to you by our correspondent last week," he said in his letter to Mahathir dated Sept. 12.
He said the Sept. 8 letter sent by its correspondent was a last-minute attempt to give Mahathir time to comment on a story the magazine was doing about his legacy and the transition of power to his deputy Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Friday, September 12, 2003

National leaders hit out at ‘Business Week’
over adverse articles threat

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11: National leaders today said it was unprofessional and unethical of international magazine Business Week to threaten to write adverse articles after it failed to secure an interview with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
They also said the New York-based magazine's demands for Dr Mahathir's immediate response to the alleged culture of cronyism and corruption in the country, did not deserve a reply.
Umno Youth chief Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein today lambasted Business Week, describing the magazine's actions as irresponsible.
"What the magazine has done is totally unacceptable. They have a hidden agenda," he said referring to the Prime Minister's revelation yesterday that the magazine had threatened to write "nasty things" if he did not meet them or failed to respond to their allegations.
Dr Mahathir had told reporters that the magazine had sought an interview with him, which he declined.
He said they then wrote him a letter, dated Sept 8, through their Singapore bureau correspondent Michael Shari, demanding an immediate response and threatening to write all about cronyism, oppression and dictatorship, if he did not do so.
Hishammuddin said the western media seemed obsessed with the culture of "issuing threats" to leaders in developing countries.
"They do not acknowledge views from countries like ours and are bold enough to blackmail our Prime Minister," he said in Seremban, after chairing a meeting on preparations for Sukma.
He said the magazine had gone overboard and should understand that Press freedom should be tempered by responsibility and professionalism.
He said Dr Mahathir had made the right decision not to entertain the magazine's request.
Here in Kuala Lumpur, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar called the magazine's conduct improper.
"Surely one understands that if you refuse to give an interview because you see no relevance for it to be conducted, then it is your right.
"Therefore it is improper for any magazine or any journalist to write a letter subsequently threatening to write nasty things if they are not granted an interview.
"It does not speak well of the media world or journalism, which is supposed to represent objectivity and professionalism," he said after the official launch of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference business forum and event partners signing ceremony at Nikko Hotel today.
In Kuantan, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the magazine's threats against Dr Mahathir Mohamad were unprofessional and demonstrated the childishness of its editorial management.
"It is also clear that the magazine does not know how to respect others' wishes.
"Their actions are in great contrast to the view that western media is professional.
"Obviously they picked the wrong person to mess with," Adnan said at the opening of the 5th Asian Academy of Management conference here today.
On whether action would be taken against the magazine, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said that while the Government had long adopted a liberal attitude, it would not hesitate to take firm action if the country's national interests were involved, Bernama reported.
Shari could not be contacted for comment. Calls to him at the Business Week's Singapore bureau were not returned.
The weekly magazine, which has elicited much criticism since the Prime Minister's revelation, is published by The McGraw-Hill companies and has an Asian edition.
McGraw-Hill has in its stable various publications and companies.


Thursday, September 11, 2003

‘Business Week’ threatens to write
adverse articles about Dr M

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 10: The New York-based Business Week magazine has threatened Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad that it would publish adverse articles about the Prime Minister, the country and the ruling party.
The magazine, which is published by The McGraw-Hill Companies, has written a letter to Dr Mahathir on Sept 8, through its Singapore bureau correspondent Michael Shari, and demanded the Prime Minister's immediate response to the alleged culture of cronyism and corruption in Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir, who revealed the threatening tone of the letter to reporters today, said the publication, known in Asia as Business Week Asia, reflected the attitude of the Western Press which continued to dictate to and slander leaders according to their whims and fancies.
"I just want to say this, the behaviour of the Western Press is despicable. I have now received a letter from Business Week which threatens me. They wanted to interview me but I have no wish to be interviewed by Business Week because the last time they did it they told a lot of lies.
"So now they have sent me a letter threatening me that if I don't see them or respond to their allegations, they are going to write all sorts of nonsense and nasty things about cronyism, oppression, dictatorship and all that. This is the Western Press for you. They threaten you, they blackmail you and when you refuse to do what they want you to do, they will write nasty things.
"If you're nice to them, as I was nice the last time, they still write nasty things. So, that is freedom of the Press tell lies and to damage other people's countries and reputation," Dr Mahathir said at a Press conference after attending the preparatory briefing for the upcoming 10th Organisation of Islamic Conference Summit at the Putrajaya Convention Centre here.
In the rudely worded letter which gave the Prime Minister less than 48 hours to respond, Shari among others claimed that he was in the midst of writing a "sensitive" article on the upcoming leadership transition in Malaysia.
He also spelt out a thinly veiled threat to the Prime Minister by saying that the article would also focus on "lavish spendings on grandiose public works projects and programmes designed to boost Malaysian prestige abroad and the construction of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the Petronas Twin Towers and the Multimedia Super Corridor".
The Western Press had made the same allegations on numerous occasions although the issues have been dealt with by the Government time and time again.
The Singapore-based writer who boasted in his letter that Business Week Asia enjoyed a circulation of "more than 60,000 cabinet ministers, chief executives and international investors" also pointed out the publication's view that the New Economic Policy had bred cronyism in Malaysia.
McGraw-Hill has in its stable various publications and companies, including the Standard and Poor's rating agency.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who was asked to comment on the threat by the publication, said today the publication had no right to write such a nasty letter to the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
"Malaysians have every right to be angry with such rude and unbecoming attitude of the Western Press. They do not respect freedom, democracy and they want to interpret democracy and freedom according to their own standards. This is very wrong.
"We should take stock of what we should do and what action we can take against such irresponsible and arrogant media who behave as though they know everything," he responded.
Asked if any action could be initiated against such publications, Syed Hamid said the Foreign Ministry would study the matter before any further action.