Wednesday, May 1, 2013

GE13: The Star refutes Tony Pua's allegation over DAP ad

The Star has run DAP advertisements on its radio stations 988 and Red FM but only a print advertisement for the newspaper was rejected because the party refused to put its logo on it.

According to a spokesman, a statement made by its DAP publicity chief Tony Pua had conveniently left out that the radio advertisements were accepted and aired.

He said the rejected print advertisement was not attributed to any individual or party or group.

The spokesman said Wednesday that the company was uneasy with the design of the print advertisement as it clearly violated the Malaysian Code of Advertising and Home Ministry guidelines.

The advertisement showed independent candidate Datuk Ibrahim Ali holding a keris with the words "a vote for MCA is a vote for Umno and Perkasa."

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He said it appeared to incite racial sentiments and that the DAP itself was unable to explain in what capacity or function Ibrahim was kissing the keris.

"The DAP could not tell if Ibrahim was holding the keris at a silat or political gathering and in what context," he said, adding the party could not even verify where the picture was taken.

The spokesman said this in response to a statement by Pua that The Star had turned down the print advertisement which showed Ibrahim holding a keris with the Barisan Nasional candidate for Shah Alam, Datuk Zulkifli Nordin.

The spokesman said the DAP also refused to put its logo on the advertisement, adding that the DAP finally agreed to remove the keris.

"But by that time, it was already past the booking and printing time. It looks like the DAP planned all this to have its advertisement rejected, before submitting a so-called compromised version, and to attack The Star," he said.

He said under normal roles, advertising material must be given three days in advance but the rule was waived with a 24-hour ruling given for the DAP.

He regretted that the DAP had also omitted that the 998 radio station had run the advertisements.

"Under normal circumstances, advertisement material needs to be given seven days in advance but we accepted the last-minute changes and material.

"The DAP was also given a hefty discount for its advertisement spots on another sister radio, Red FM, which Pua also did not mention. He will probably say he is not aware."

The spokesman said advertisements of any political form can be accepted, even if deemed controversial or offensive, as they were merely opinions, but cannot be accepted if deemed as inciting racial tension.

The spokesman said The Star had carried news and photographs of the DAP on its main pages and Metro Central. In Metro North, a whole page was dedicated to the DAP mega ceramah in Penang.

He said even Pua had been given coverage in the newspaper and its online portal since the campaigning started.

Over the past one week alone, The Star has carried two reports of him and a picture of him, even though he has been away from his Petaling Jaya Utara constituency as he was busy campaigning elsewhere.

"He was even invited for a video interview to be carried over The Star Online, which has more than 40 million page views.

"We regret that he has not been thankful to what The Star has done for him. We also regret that he has not been truthful," the spokesman added.

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