‘THE STAR’ GIVEN 7 DAYS TO RESPOND TO SHOW-CAUSE LETTER
PUTRAJAYA: The Home Ministry has given The Star seven days to respond to a show-cause letter over its front page on Saturday.
Its secretary-general, Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim, said the ministry had summoned the daily’s chief editor to explain why it had used a picture of Muslims praying on the front page with a story headlined “Malaysian terrorist leader”.
“The ministry is upset with the headline, which included a picture of Muslims performing terawih prayer.
“It does not have any connection with the news and is not suitable to be published on the same page as it may cause confusion, misunderstanding and prejudice against Muslims, who may be linked to terrorism. The front page also indirectly ridicules Islam.
“The Star has seven days to respond to the show-cause letter on why action should not be taken under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, including suspension of its publishing permits.”
Earlier, four representatives from The Star appeared at the ministry to provide an explanation for its front page.
Executive editors Rozaid Abdul Rahman, Brian Martin and Dorairaj Nadason, and specialist editor M. Shanmugam arrived at the ministry at 10.50am, spending an hour at the ministry.
Attempts to get their comments, however, were unsuccessful as they used a different route to leave the premises.
Alwi had, on Sunday, said the ministry would summon the chief editor to explain the front page showing a picture of Muslims performing terawih prayer sandwiched between the headline “Malaysian terrorist leader” and a spa advertisement.
He had said the badly-placed headline painted a poor image of Muslims, as though those performing the prayers were terrorists.
The Star issued an apology following criticism of its front page.
In Johor Baru, Kempas assemblyman Datuk Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid Jumat said the government should suspend the newspaper as this was the third time it had hurt the feelings of Muslims.
“No more show-cause letters should be issued.
“It must be dealt with sternly.”
He said that in 2011, The Star published an advertisement about pork ribs in its Ramadan food promotion supplement, along with two articles featuring pork dishes.
In 2012, it published a full-page picture of American singer Erykah Badu with a tattoo featuring the Arabic word for “Allah”.
“On both occasions, it was let off with a slap on the wrist.”