Berita Kampus, the USM communications lab newspaper, was temporarily held back yesterday after a farewell profile on highly regarded media lecturer Dr Mustafa K Anuar appeared. For some reason, the School of Communication had a change of heart and released the newspaper yesterday evening just as the news was beginning to spread on social media.
The profile featured interviews with students, colleagues and peers.
News that the newspaper had been held back (before later being released) spread on Facebook.
Mustafa said on Facebook:
Never had my birthday been so memorable and challenging at the same time. I had my former students, who are now academics as well as the present students who celebrated my birthday with me with so much fanfare and fun. And on the very same day censorship, a practice I deplore vehemently, was imposed on Berita Kampus simply because it contained an interview with me which supposedly had certain elements that were ‘problematic’ to the powers-that-be.
One of the quotes highlighted in the profile was: “Cabaran dari manusia yang taksub dengan kuasa yang diperolehi hingga terkikis unsur-unsur kemanusiaan dan seolah-olah hilang pedoman hidup.”
There goes one of the foremost media academics in Malaysia in a cloud of controversy.
I was asked to contribute to the profile but my contribution came too late to make it to print.
This is what I would have written:
Mustafa has inspired countless media and communications students over the years and has been a passionate advocate for a free and independent press. During his time and together with the efforts of his colleagues, the USM School of Communication rose to prominence as one of the premier media schools in the region. Today, many of Mustafa’s former students are among the leading independent and investigative journalists in the country.
Not only that, Mustafa is one of the most prominent Malaysians in the country for his inclusive outlook and abhorrence of injustice. Much loved by his students, past and present, the soft-spoken academic is a genuine Malaysian in the most positive sense, building bridges across people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. He did not let his employment with the university stop him from speaking out vocally on the issues that matter in Malaysian society. USM has lost a remarkable academic and true Malaysian.