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Words in the News
Wednesday 16 January 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  protestors for free press
Press Freedom in Malaysia
Summary: Journalists at one of Malaysia's leading English language newspapers have held protests at the owners' decision last week to dismiss nearly half the editorial staff. Protestors claim that it marks the end of independent journalism in Malaysia. This report from Simon Ingram.
   
The News Listen  
  Last night's vigil outside the offices of the Sun newspaper will probably be the last. The symbolic protests involving several dozen staff members, their friends and supporters have been held every evening since New Year's Eve. That was the week after the tabloid daily paper ran a front-page splash story under the headline "Plot to Kill PM".

The sensational claim of a plot by local politicians to assassinate the Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, was untrue. The suspicion is that the journalists who wrote it, and the editors who decided to run it, fell into a trap. The Sun is one of three English-language dailies in Malaysia and until now had been considered the most independent in its journalism. In a country where most media operate under the suffocating control of the ruling National Front government, or else engage in strict self-censorship, the Sun dared print what others did not.

In particular it reported extensively on a recent damaging split within the main pro-government ethnic Chinese party. Following the embarrassing Christmas Day gaffe, several senior editorial staff were suspended. The journalists who protested were among the forty people subsequently sacked. Meanwhile, special editorial advisors were appointed with a brief to vet all sensitive stories before publication. A local human rights group, Aliran, said the fate of mainstream media in Malaysia was now almost sealed. The saga of the Sun, a statement said, showed that even remotely independent journalism could not be tolerated in Malaysia and therefore could not survive.

 
   
The Words Listen
 
  vigil
a period of time spent quietly in a place, especially at night for prayer or political protest

 
   
  ran
printed

 
   
  splash story
a sensational story which takes up most of a newspaper or magazine page

 
   
  plot
a secret plan by a group of people to do something illegal or wrong

 
   
  engage in
if you engage in an activity, you do it

 
   
  gaffe
something you say or do that is considered socially incorrect

 
   
  a brief
precise instructions about a particular task that has to be carried out

 
   
  to vet
to check a report to make sure that it is acceptable

 
   
  mainstream
mass market and conventional

 
   
  saga
a long and often complicated sequence of events

 
   
 

Other Words in the News archives

 

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