Monday, April 04, 2011

SE Asia media apologize to Japan over unethical posts

Isn't it nice and more civil to realize that one committed a mistake and apologize for it than not realizing the error done or recognizing it but doing nothing about it?
After all, we are all humans who are subject to lapses in judgment. It is appropriate that we recognize such errors, say sorry and promise not to commit the same mistake again.
Three mainstream media outlets in Southeast Asia regretted and apologized for the unethical and insensitive publications they made shortly after the twin disasters of earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on 11 March.
Berita Harian of Malaysia, MediaCorp of Singapore and The Nation of Thailand made public apologies over the insensitive posts they have done.
The Malaysian public was quick to react over the Internet when an iconic Japanese animé character, Ultraman, was seen in a cartoon image at the newspaper Berita Harian to be running away from the fast approaching giant wave.
Apologizing through Facebook, the Malaysian newspaper said: "BERITA HARIAN memohon maaf dengan penyiaran karikatur mengenai kejadian tsunami dan gempa bumi di Jepun dalam akhbar Berita Minggu hari ini. Pihak kami tidak berniat langsung untuk mempersendakan bencana yang menimpa negara itu, sebaliknya amat bersimpati dan berkongsi kesedihan dengan rakyat Jepun.-Pengarang"
[We apologize for the publication of the cartoon in Berita Minggu. We had no intention of poking fun at the disaster that has befallen the nation of Japan and its people. In fact, we greatly sympathize with their plight and share the sorrow of the Japanese people.-Author]
Shortly after the disaster made headlines all over the globe, customers of Singapore'sMediaCorp received an email advertisement saying the press company will be carrying an extended coverage of the calamity and asked interested clients to call their representatives for advertising slots.
The private email was leaked through the Internet by social media monitoring firm, JamiQ. The advertisement said:
"Be a Part of Channel NewsAsia’s Breaking News Coverage on the Japan Tsunami
"Channel NewsAsia: Massive Tsunami Hits Japan after Massive Quake

A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake shook Japan in the early afternoon today, unleashing a powerful tsunami that wrecked havoc along the streets of coastal towns. Book your spots in the Weekday Evening News Bundle as the channel brings viewers comprehensive coverage reports on the disaster with extended versions of news bulletins tonight.
"… Call our sales representatives now"
MediaCorp apologized for its mistake. A pdf copy is available here.
"We apologize unreservedly if we had been seen to be insensitive to the gravity of the situation. The staff concerned has been counseled to be more circumspect; we hope the public will be forgiving and we can focus our attention and efforts on the affected victims of this most unfortunate tragedy."
A major English language daily in Bangkok, The Nation, published on 15 March a cartoon image of Reaper surfing in what appears to be a big wave. The robust body is akin to that of a Sumo wrestler holding a scythe with a red dot on the forehead that seem to represent the Japanese flag. The Japanese map was used as the surfing board.
The newspaper published its apology on the same day that said: "This is to express our sincerest apology for Tuesday paper's editorial cartoon that many find improper or insensitive due to its overzealous depiction of the tsunami as killer waves and linkage to Japan.
"The Nation deeply regrets the fact that the cartoon, which followed the artist's other work in which he shared his grief with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims, has offended several readers.
"The Nation always cherishes freedom of expression on our op-ed pages. However, every issue is different in nature and we promise to treat each properly, with full ethics and professionalism."
The cartoonist made his apology on 16 March who said: "As the author of the cartoon published on Tuesday, March 15 in The Nation, I would like to sincerely apologize to all readers of The Nation, especially Japanese readers, if the image caused offence.
"Any offence caused was totally unintended as I always try to be careful when I draw about natural catastrophes. I did this particular cartoon in a hurry after The tsunami on Friday and we weren't quite aware of the full extent of the tragedy at that time. The Grim Reaper is not meant to be understood as a humorous character and is often used in editorial cartoons in the West to signify a tragedy involving loss of life. But I quite agree that on this occasion this cartoon was inappropriate and something softer should have been used. Once again I apologize to those who felt hurt by this cartoon and particularly to the Japanese expatriates in Thailand. No insensitivity was ever intended."
Details of this story here.

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