BERITA HARIAN GIVEN STERN WARNING

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 (Bernama) -- Information Communication and Culture

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Berita Harian had been given a stern

warning for publishing in its Sunday edition, the Berita Minggu, a caricature

that treated the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan as a joke.

He said considering that the illustration was related to a humanitarian

matter, no legal action could be taken against the newspaper under the Printing

Presses and Publications Act 1984 or Malaysian Communications and Multimedia

Act.

"We only issued a stern warning so that the offending action would not be

repeated," he said after witnessing the signing of a concession agreement

between Menara Kuala Lumpur Sdn Bhd (MKLSB) and the Malaysian government, here,

today.

Rais also reminded the newspaper not to use calamities like earthquakes or

tsunami as a source of humour.

"We have told Berita Harian that there should be no humour in its

publication with regard to any disaster as this could hurt people''s feelings. It

(disaster) is something that we should all face together.

-- MORE

RAIS-BERITA HARIAN 2 KUALA LUMPUR

"So, whether it is Ultraman or any other comic figure, we should not use it

as a source of humour. Our views on this have been conveyed to the editors of

the newspaper and they have apologised, particularly to the Japanese people," he

said.

Yesterday, Berita Minggu published a caricature by Zoy featuring Ultraman,

the popular Japanese superhero, running away helter-skelter from the huge

tsunami waves.

Following this, several quarters have voiced their objection and regret over

the newpaper''s insensitiveness to the plight of the Japanese who were hit by

the tsunami following the 8.9-magnitude earthquake off the coast of

north-eastern Japan last Friday.

Berita Harian on its front page today apologised for the offending

caricature.

On another matter, Rais said all telecommunications companies (telcos) had

been asked to play their role through the short message service (SMS) or alerts

in disseminating information to their customers if the situation in the country

became unstable.

-- MORE

RAIS-BERITA HARIAN 3 (LAST) KUALA LUMPUR

"I have instructed the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to

ensure that all the telcos do this when there are emergencies such as a tsunami

and also other difficult situations being experienced by the people."

As for the signing of the agreement, earlier at the function, it was for a

10-year concession to operare, manage and maintain KL Tower and its surrounding

site including five lots of federal land.

According to the agreement, MKLSB is responsible for managing and operating

the tower according to the approved standard for telecommunications towers, and

also as a tourism and hospitality centre.

-- BERNAMA

ZUZ AKT MO

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