RPK and HARDtalk: BBC hardly impartial


Many Malaysians have expressed disappointment  over the BBC’s backing down from a ‘HARDtalk’ interview with RPK.

Much of this sentiment, I believe, stems from a perception that the BBC is a bastion of impartial, independent reporting.

Far from it. The BBC reflects the establishment viewpoint in the UK. Its positions on the illegal invasion of Iraq, the US-UK role in Afghanistan and the Israeli occupation of Palestine are well documented.

Just check out the dissatisfaction over the Beeb’s coverage of various issues on the excellent Media Lens website here.

Have a look at the analysis of BBC coverage of Israel-Palestine by Prof Greg Philo of Glasgow University in The Guardian here. Glasgow Media Group publishes excerpts of the major findings from Greg’s book here.

You won’t see much BBC analysis of workers’ issues and civil society’s reaction against corporate greed and corporate destruction of the environment either. Neither will there be much analysis of the US or the UK’s behind-the-scenes role in backing Third World dictators like Suharto, Marcos, Saddam and Pinochet or in undermining popular, democratically elected governments of the South.

Stations like the BBC and CNN are instead the flag-bearers of corporate-led globalisation. They promote the corporate agenda and the political interests that protect that agenda – whether local or foreign.

So are you still surprised by the BBC’s climbdown on HARDtalk?

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  1. Anil,

    Just to share this…

    Previous Awards 2007 – Public Affairs News
    The winners were announced at the Public Affairs News Awards 2007 on 5 July at the …. Asia and the US has further marked a turning point…
    http://www.publicaffairsnews.com/panawards/previousawards07 – Cached – Similar

    Blair War Clique Runs
    Anti-LaRouche Slander Drive
    by Anton Chaitkin April 2007

    “…..they reacted with fury. BBC’s intelligence source against the liars, government weapons scientist David Kelly, died suddenly, a supposed suicide. They neutered BBC—Britain’s national public network, purged BBC’s leaders and acted to crush all media opposition.

    …..a case which was cooked up during Spring, 2003, when LaRouche addressed Great Britain over BBC…” Unquote.

    You be the judge.


  2. Dear Anil,
    Who is RPK, eh?
    BBC wants to interview RPK?
    Is he a politician, an ex-minister, an ex-convict, a fiction writer, a royalty, a fugitive or what?
    BBC must be very HARDup to do that!!!

    • Tell me why AngMor RPK like that?

      Why do you think AngMor RPK had to go to Kamunting for spinning imaginative Jungle Book Stories?
      Why are AngMor RPK’s stories so telling that his laptop and CPU were confiscated?
      Why is AngMor RPK’s Jungle Book series so imaginative and compelling that his son was put to jail for what charges unrelated to Jungle Book?
      Why can’t AngMor RPK write other harmless Jungle Book stories and not risk losing everything in Malaysia?

      Still convinced that AngMor RPK is an imaginative story spinner of Malaysian Jungle politics? If so, please convince BBC to buy his harmless Jungle Book Stories for their CBeebies Story Time.

      • As you have said “spinning imaginative” Stories!!!
        Since you adore and believe in RPK, you should lobby and convince BBC to buy from a Spinner.
        Better still, get Pembangkang Rakyat (PR) to boycott BBC and Buy British Last!!!

        As for his son, it is a proven case!!!
        You mean to say that IT IS FIXED?
        What do you expect from a child who is left in the Wild?

      • At least there are conscience people with a right mind to speak out for justice – nothing for profits, bodek or to please the political masters by shoe polishing. Buy me a ticket and I will personally go to BBC to lobby for RPK as you can conveniently propose. Can you?
        We as sane, decent minded people don’t jump at the minion idea of boycott this, boycott that. You have to use your brain to work over this type of challenge, not retaliate, Hothead!
        As for his son, I’m not in a position to condemn his upbringing. Go visit him and give him some comfort. He will tell you his real story piece by piece. Hear from the horse’s mouth. And come back to tell us.

      • Are you real?
        A classic display of the mentality of a Pembangkang Rakyat PR)supporter!!!
        You this, you that. It’s always you, you, you…..

        Enough said. TQ.

      • Charlie, whatever it is, no one should be persecuted for saying what they believe. The way the Malaysian government treats him, they have already turned him into a martyr. This is not the way a democracy should handle itself. In fact I’ll call it a sham democratic country.

        If he spreads lies then prove him wrong. Don’t try to arrest him under ISA.

      • Charlie: Are you real?
        (Sounds like sweetie Charlie’s Angels)

        Yes, flesh & blood. And I love discoursing with hotheads.
        They drive my Epinephrine to a healthy high level.
        Wait a minute, this sweetie Charlie sounds like G…something.
        Or a typical ‘wet behind the ear’ Troll.

        Nevermind, not worth my attention.
        Time for ‘Stairway To Heaven’ ( That’s more real )

  3. Everyone knows the real issues regarding RPK except Gerakan K who is and will always glorify their masters…? RPK needs no glorification unlike others who desperately wants to be like God. Know what? Its poles different, Im sure Gerakan still think about Goal post or post laju?

    • Haha,

      your statement makes me laugh:
      Everyone knows the real issues regarding RPK

      It should read as “Everyone follows the lies and imaginative assumption regarding RPK”

      Notice the word “follow”. This is important word for machai like you.

      • I pick the classic one. The 16th September 2008 Putrajaya project was a truth or lie ???

      • And did RPK say that PR are going to be the new government on that date? Or was it they were trying to find people to jump to their side? Is it a lie that there were efforts to get people to jump to their side?

        It was an overconfident Anwar(I btw do not agree with that whole charade). Whether or not his efforts are true or just a lie I have no proof to disprove it. Just as how you do not have any evidence to back your claim that they didn’t try to do it.

  4. RPK was a thorn to the so called First lady and Najib.
    comissions,altantuya,razak baginda,saiful,mustaz jaafar,deepak jaikishen,nasir safar……just add the list…..
    Who is more guilty??????
    … is (this) the work of the 1 Isreal APCO who have been doing a great job for Najib/Rosmah(?)
    Gerakan K …do you still have faith in our courts? The Malaysian Judges are just failures from our screwed up Education System and are just earning a living…!!!
    Long live RPK!!!!!!!

    • Long live RPK ???

      You need to detoxify yourself fast before it reaches the critical stage. What is RPK contribution that makes you admire him very much ??? The fault language skills, imaginative story making or what ???

      By the way, I would rather shout “long live” to my family instead of a runaway coward !!!

  5. If Raja Petra is a Muslim fanatic, defending the fascist islamic-ruled countries… he would get top slot on BBC, I suspect much! UK (& the Netherlands) has became the primitive kingdoms of anti-freedom of speech – unless you’re Muslim fanatics or Western lefty crazies defending Islam!

    • Aiyah the “paraplegic gay black transexual single mother” argument. It’s one of my dad’s favourites. It has some value. Ask a control engineer (Norbert Wiener applied it in a social setting: I think it’s valid) why measuring a problem (like prejudice against a minority) to dictate how heavily to penalise the cause doesn’t give you the result – no problem – you might expect.

      Balancing positive discrimination against overshooting the problem you’re trying to correct is difficult. If you want fairer treatment for minorities, you are occasionally going to have to promote their cause at the obvious risk of being criticised for discrimination. I’m not convinced, however, that the BBC giving prominent coverage to protesters carrying ironic “Freedom go to hell” posters quite counts as promotion:

      The UK never really fully completed its transformation into a secular state. Even though a very low proportion of Britons are actively religious, there’s still an awful lot of law to take advantage of for those who are less apathetic about their religion. Tony Blair’s government made it worse. They circumvented the abolition of blasphemy laws by introducing the Racial and Religious Hatred Act – an apparent attempt to make the UK more like Malaysia. Race is in there as a sugar on an otherwise unswallowable pill. Whilst ‘race’ is ill-defined and unarguably benign, Britons are now no longer able to complain that the Satanists next door are eating their children if they are doing so as an act of devotion to their faith.

      It’s not always the BBC’s fault that we get to watch some apparently misguided attempts to promote something that should be ridiculed if not criminalised. An independent broadcaster should really point it out, but if pointing it out has been criminalised then as a Malaysian you could perhaps understand why they might be reluctant. The BBC doesn’t have the luxury of running to somewhere more welcoming of a critical view from where they can post snotty comments on the Internet.

      I can’t believe I’m defending the BBC. When I lived in the UK I didn’t have a TV from 1989 to 2005, because I thought terrestrial programming was almost undifferentiated shite. It’s not until one lives somewhere like Malaysia that one gets an inkling of just how precious good output is and just how far the shite spectrum extends.

  6. Sudah lah.
    It is their prerogative .
    If BBC does not want RPK maybe other medias will invite him. They are other international medias in the world.
    Or BBC can interview RPK on other issues .
    As Altantuya is NOT the only issue that can be brought up.
    This BBC hardtalk is not really an important issue.

  7. Whatever you say, BBC & CNN & even Al-Jazeera is still much fairer compared with our own RTM/NTV7/TV9/Astro/Bernama & what-have-we in Bolehland. I try to keep an open mind to whatever news I hear until I can confirm it’s the truth.

    The problem lies more with the heads of govt/states like Obama who gives blind support to corrupt ‘leaders’ from 3rd and developing world, which he’s doing in the name of ‘new’ diplomacy to shore up his own image as a ‘peace’-seeking global leader, esp with the Muslim world. It’s tough to get do a balancing act on this issue, and in Obama’s way, he has compromised between being friendly and speaking out for the oppressed.

    I can never forget what Al Gore did to show his solidarity for the oppressed here in our own country. He spoke out for Reformasi and walked out of a dinner with Mahathir. Many said he’s just plain arrogant, but to me it’s guts to say and show what you mean!

  8. The once fierceless Brits have turned into a “Tamed …”. Money can do wonders!! It is a pity, BBC you have denied Malaysians of the truth in the recent events unfolded in Bolehland….which were disgracefully and unashamedly, distorted by UMNO led ruling administration…to the pleasure and delight of the ding-dong polisher, Gerakan K!

  9. It’s hard to know how much trust to place in attacks on the BBC. It’s currently the target of a concerted effort by private-sector media companies who are feeling the double-pinch of new media and a slow economy and can see that the BBC isn’t suffering in the same way because of the way it is funded. Recent changes to the TV Licence laws have also made it less clear how the BBC can continue any form of independence. With the expansion of Internet access – as long as network neutrality can be preserved – it’s also hard to see the need for a state guarantee of independent broadcasts.

    If you’re expecting that a state-guaranteed independent broadcaster would transmit a George Galloway Channel, you need urgent attention from a brain specialist. They don’t broadcast in a media vacuum. People have to choose to watch their channels. To a certain extent that means they have to occasionally show the sort of pap that ‘puts bums on seats’. It’s a difficult balance to strike. For my part they need only occasionally bring me something I wouldn’t expect from a commercial channel – like the Power of Nightmares documentary series:


    for me to continue paying the Licence Fee – which I did in the UK, even though I did not have a TV (the usual criterion for having to pay is that you have equipment capable of receiving their TV broadcasts): I often used their web resources and listened to their radio stations.

    I don’t know – I wouldn’t have BBC terrestrial programming in my house, but while they continue to bring me things I think I couldn’t reliably get elsewhere, I’d be sorry to see them go. I think if you’re angry that they didn’t make a program with RPK, then you’re probably suffering from the sort of optimism that got Malaysia into this terrible condition in the first place. It’s going to take a lot more than political butterflies cheering on the bum-fight of arsy self-publicists on foreign TV stations to solve Malaysia’s problems. Why don’t you ask why Sky and Virgin don’t make a program with RPK? The commercial consideration is inseparable from the political one. I think what we’re seeing is not interference from the establishment but an independent valuation that you’re finding hard to stomach.

    • Very good comment Sean.

      I can hardly find any major broadcaster who is completely impartial. But if BBC was “biased” how can we explain the number of times Anwar has been on there?

      Why do we need to take it so personally that just because they decided to climbdown on the RPK interview that it’s a politically motivated one?
      Have we considered that perhaps he’s not “newsworthy” enough for ratings? And this decision was a commercial decision rather than political?

      • Yes, commercial considerations might have been at play in the case of the RPK interview, as the stakes are indeed high. Uncomfortable issues could have been raised, including the ethics of arms purchases, the issue of corruption and brokers in the arms industry, etc.

        As for Anwar, his beef is mainly political oppression, which makes him fit in the mould of most other dissidents that HARDtalk regularly interviews. BBC would have no problems with that, I imagine.

  10. British post-Malaya colonialism is real and still kicking alive. ‘Divide and conquer’ from long range is better than any ICBM. No putting its British Bulldog face in local Malaysian politics is more subtle, ‘polite’ and outwardly off-handed. But one can still smell the Bulldog s…!

    ‘You scratch my back, I scratch yours’ does not belong only to Malay Archipelago regional politics. British politicians are (habitually) apt at that too. It will not be surprising, one sunny day RPK is deported back to Malaysia escorted by M16 agents on British Airways.

    Long Live The British Queen. Your Ugly Bulldog has turned tail!

  11. This is obvious result. Who wants to glorify a wanted person ???

    p/s: Finally there is an end to Iraq illegal invasion by the US and her cohorts.

      • Court cases that are for defamation am I correct? Wouldn’t it need to be assessed whether what he said was the truth first before assessing whether he had defamed someone? How can it be defamation if it is true? Or if it is sedition, how can it be sedition if it is allegation about a politician who holds public office? Are people not entitled to question them?

      • BTW I’m sorry that this is off topic, but I just found his statement ‘Who wants to glorify a wanted person’ to be extremely funny. Yeah right….in human history, we’ve never looked up to people who were wanted or are deemed trouble makers…lol who am I kidding. Surely whatever the establishment says must be correct and must be for the interest of its citizens right?

        And the irony of this all, he claims the illegal invasion is over. If it is illegal why isn’t Bush or Blair wanted? Why is it some writer who writes about corruption, who has never killed anyone or lead to anyone being killed become the most wanted man in Malaysia? I mean seriously. WOW

      • Whatever the reason or charges, he must attend the court proceeding and not runaway.

      • O la la. O la lah.

        Nice to see you commenting. Using your logic then no one need to attend court proceeding either in Malaysia or other places.

      • Yeah because we all know fair trail isn’t important right. Right? Using your logic apparently justice is fair in all countries and incorruptible. You know what, they should have just let Mandela rot in jail. That trouble maker.

        You are right Gerakan K. The people should just accept whatever comes their way.

  12. Dont forget the famous British official hypocrites. The world is still suffering from British devious hypocrisy from the last two hundred years.


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