…and BENAR was launched!

The success of the first day of the CIJ programme, Roadmap to Media Freedom (Saturday, 3 May), had set expectations. The exhibition on related matters had created the right mood. The preceding discussion about Media Law Reform had raised some interesting and eye-opening issues. What had begun as an audience of about 20 persons had swelled to more than 60. Additional chairs had to be brought in and still some had to stand, or sit on the stairs. Everything was primed for a grand official launch of the BENAR campaign.

The video presentation that Birdseye had laboured many hours over (assisted, of course, by other members of the BENAR team) was received with unexpected enthusiasm. Even the presentation of the animated BENAR logo received applause. We were off to a good start.

The audience warmed up to the central message of the campaign – we understood that the journalists wanted to write the truth. It was their editors who were directing them to do otherwise. But giving excuses would not bring any change. They had to be prepared to show their concern about the direction journalism had taken. The BENAR campaign was their opportunity.

In his address, Haris spoke about the importance of the journalist community standing up for their rights. He promised that if they were ready to march for Press Freedom, the people would march with them. He also promised that he would personally set up a legal defence team to support any of them should such support be required.

The audience was told about Minggu BENAR (1st to 7th June, 2008) and people were invited to this blog to contribute their ideas on how we could prepare for the event. The target dates have been set. Some action targets have been set. Now it’s a matter of mapping out a strategy, working out the details and then executing the plan.

One of the first objectives on our action list is the Petition for the Malaysian Freedom of Information Act. As of now, the total number of signatures stands at a pathetic 402. We have a population of more than 20 million people. Can we not aim for a higher response rate?

Let us, for now, set a target of 10,000 signatures. If we can achieve that in the next week or so, then we can aim for a higher target. Go out there and tell people about this petition. Get them to sign. Then come back here and let us discuss what else we can do.

All of you are a part of this. Let us pool our efforts and make it happen. The ball is at your feet.


18 Responses to …and BENAR was launched!

  1. G. Umakanthan says:

    And about time too. I’m in, on the walk.

    G. Umakanthan
    Copy Editor

  2. Patrick Oh says:

    Singam and Foo,

    Good job for the presentation. I was one of your audience yesterday. I especially love the BERSIH part as I was one of the proud marcher at Masjid Jamek. Like you guys, that night i started monitoring on the reporting fr MSM. Earlier on NTV 7, TV3 and 8TV. Followed by the reporting fr the paper, chinese and english. It was totally rubbish reporting and it ignited my conscious to support for clean and fair reporting.

    I first started reading newspaper at the age of 9 yrs old and now i kept on wondering whether I had been brought up by lies all the while until the awakening call on BERSIH.

    I will walk with you guys all the way….

  3. su says:

    I’m going to link the petition to my blog. Just wanted to know, how long is this petition going to last? And to whom will this petition be directed to?

    We have set Minggu BENAR as our target. Sometime during that week, when we have achieved a creditable and significant target, we will present the petition to all MPs and, especially, to the Home Minister.

    This is our current thinking on this. If fresh ideas come in that offer better options, we are open to change.

  4. zaharibb says:

    you should come up with the embed HTML for the logo so that supporters can post in their blogs/websites.I was at the launching ceremony.

    We are teaching ourselves the tricks as we go along. We are guessing here that you are suggesting we provide the html code that other bloggers can use to link to our logo. If that is correct, let us figure it out and we’ll get back to you.

    If someone would care to tell us how to do that, we will gladly accept the short cut.

  5. shar101 says:

    Well done, guyz.

    Just wanted to add – BENAR WEEK on June 1st-7th will be several days shy of the standard 100 days whereby the first report card on the current BN administration and the PR coalition will appear through the MSM organisations.

    Free and fair news reports from the MSM will enhance the existing two-party system this nation needs.

    The opportunity exist for the fourth estate to work diligently with civil society.

    Change and innovate or perish into oblivion. The choice is clear because Web 2.0 will not wait.

  6. svsingam says:

    zaharibb wrote “you should come up with the embed HTML for the logo so that supporters can post in their blogs/websites.

    I googled embedded html… this method is used to embed multimedia into web pages. As I understand it, this is especially useful for FLV video streams where you don’t want to download the entire video file and then upload it again.

    Our animated BENAR logo is simply an animated GIF so I’m guessing that embedded html may not be necessary. You can right-click on it and save the GIF image (70.6KB). Then you simply have to upload into into your blog (WordPress treats it as a video) and provide the HREF address for hyperlinking to this blog.

    Hope this helps.

  7. svsingam says:

    Umakanthan says he is in on the walk. That is great.

    I am thinking of starting a list of names of those pledging to join the Walk for Press Freedom. This will be placed in the sidebar under Pages and will be updated as more pledges come in.

    But a list of one name would be a bit sad. So I shall hold on until more pledges have come in.

    Perhaps people are holding back until they know more about the Walk. As of now, it is only an idea that needs to be discussed. Anyone having thoughts about the subject, please feel free to write in.

  8. lucia says:

    perhaps you could use this embed html code, hosted on my site (but not sure the animation will work – it works when i linked it to my blog):

    i know some people prefer to use embed link so as not to save the logo (download) then upload it to their site. troublesome to some. if there is embed html, it is easier.

  9. lucia says:

    oops. the link is missing because of the tags i think. ok so i won’t use the tag after ‘BENAR”, but when you want to copy it, remember to add in the tags.

    img src=”http://www.lucialai.org/wp-content/themes/aalglatt/images/BenarAnimationS.gif”alt=”BENAR”

    Lucia, the Benar GIF file used above is located in your web server. Can anyone else access it?

  10. su says:

    Would love to know more about the walk. Do you think you could post something on it?

  11. foosing says:


    There are details to work out for the proposed walk. For greater impact, we would like to work with certain organizations or groups that share a similar vision. Also there is the nitty gritty of a permit so we can have a peaceful and meaningful march that winds up with the delivery of a well-supported petition to the Home Ministry/Minister.


  12. Singam says:

    Lucia, I tried hyperlinking to the Benar logo in the Benar blog on a test posting in PP and it didn’t work. Do you know whether graphics and animation files on WordPress can be accessed from other blogs or websites?

    If someone has made this work, do send me the embedded html code in a text file and I will have it posted here in a readable form.

  13. svsingam says:

    Foo, Su,

    What do you think of the idea of putting up a Page about the Walk for Freedom of the Press which outlines what we are proposing to do and which we can flesh out as the details are worked out? That Page will be permanently featured at the top section of the Sidebar for easy access.

    We can list the names of those who pledge to do the Walk so that others are inspired to make their own pledge.

  14. su says:


    I agree with you on the Page thing. That way it would be easier for us to know about updates on the walk.

    But I guess Foo has a lot of things to consider, and alot to put together before coming up with something conducive to put on the page.

    Let’s be patient about it. But a page on the walk, with names of the grps and organisations, along with the list of walkers would be good.

    **Wish I could join in the walk, it’s going to be tough trying to walk from NZ..

  15. svsingam says:

    Su, we are working out the details. As soon as we have something substantial, I’ll put up the Page. Then, we can update as we go along.

    About joining the Walk, do what the Hindraf folk did. Organise a Walk wherever you are resident. Even a small number of people (more than the legal limit here) taking a leisurely Sunday morning Walk for Press Freedom will make your statement. Some hand-made placards will add a touch.

    Take lots of pictures and send them to us. We’ll post them along with ours and claim that BENAR is a global movement. 🙂

    Actually, an idea just occurred to me. While the main Walk takes place in the Klang Valley, people in other parts of the country can also do their Local Walk. How about it folks?

    Sunday, 1st June, 2008 – Walk for Press Freedom.

    Actually, in each city, there could be a number of independent Walks taking place at the same time. No need for all to gather at the same place. Nationwide solidarity brought to a location near you.

    All you need is a local organiser.

  16. lulai says:

    quote=”Lucia, the Benar GIF file used above is located in your web server. Can anyone else access it?”

    yes it will work on any other sites/blogs. i just try it with a wordpress.com blog of mine. must remember though to add the open and close tags < oh and i realise too, change the quotation marks ” dunno why when i paste the img link there, the quotation marks changes.

    singam, as i respond to your query i found it too long to be posted here so i’m going to respond to your email.

  17. […] Those interested can go to this link: Benar for a Free and Fair Media […]

  18. wajahwajah says:


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