Saturday 24 September 2011

Mystery ban on Siasat's Chinese edition episode

An episode of Media Prima-owned television station ntv7's Chinese edition of the current affairs programme, Siasat, which is aired every Thursday, was barred from being aired last night.

No explanation was given for the sudden decision to take this particular episode, titled "I want to go to school", off the air.

An old episode of the 30-minute Siasat series was aired during the time slot for the award-winning programme, which is 11.30 every Thursday night.

ntv7 siasat programme banned 230911 04The Siasat production team announced the change on its Facebook page last night, without giving any explanation.

Some Facebook users suspect the reason to be political interference or media control.

An ntv7 source told Malaysiakini, that the team received a directive from the TV station's "higher authorities" on Wednesday, saying the documentary "I want to go to school" should not be aired.

They gave no reason, the source added.

He believes that the episode may have been deemed "harmful to Sabah's image", since it explores the plight of Sabah's native races in the areas of education and poverty, as well as touches on the shortage of electricity and water supplies in the state.

He added that this particular episode has also faced problems with the Censorship Board, and the producers had been forced to edit out some content. Yet, it could not escape the 'don't screen it' order.

Another source said it was not difficult to imagine the ban on the "I want to go to school" segment of the Siasat series because it touched on "sensitive issues".

ntv7 siasat programme banned 230911 02On the Siasat Facebook page, the production team said this episode tries to reflect on the relative slow development in Sabah and Sarawak, despite the two states having joined Malaysia 48 years ago.

The team says: "For the last decade and more, Sabah remains the poorest state. In terms of education, 21 percent of Sabahans never receive education.

"What kind of future these children will have? Why there is sharp wealth inequality in the town and rural areas of Sabah? Let us reflect this on question as we celebrate Malaysia Day."

Malaysiakini made several attempts to contact ntv7's Chinese news and current affairs section for comment, but has been unsuccessful.

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