It’s startling that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), in boldly claiming to have evidence linking Prime Minister Najib Razak to financial fraud, did not show any such evidence.
It said evidence of fund transfers direct to Najib’s account had been sent to both the Attorney-General and the Prime Minister himself, but it has not shown proof of bank transactions.
This raises the question of how reliable WSJ is when it comes to reports on foreign politics. Indeed, it has got into hot soup before for false reporting.
In 2008, Singapore sued WSJ for publishing an article casting doubt on the integrity of Singapore’s judiciary. When WSJ was found to be in contempt of court and was proven wrong in its reporting, all it did was apologise to its Asian readers, and it did this online. There was never an apology in hard print.
The late Lee Kuan Yew clashed with WSJ on many occasions. He accused it of biased reporting and drastically reduced its circulation in Singapore.
WSJ got itself into a mess when, a few years ago, it reported on a controversial film about Prophet Muhammad. It alleged that the movie was made by an Israeli-American named Sam Bacile and was financed by more than 100 Jewish donors.
It takes guts to reveal a name. Everyone thought WSJ had substantial evidence to make such claims. But as investigations drew to a close, it was revealed that the report was completely wrong. There were no records of any person named Sam Bacile in the United States or Israel.
People wrote to WSJ demanding an explanation, but it did not respond. Eventually, in September 2012, WSJ issued a statement of correction.
After the infamous Boston Marathon bombing, WSJ erroneously reported that the police had found five explosive devices, two of which had been deployed. Minutes later, federal authorities dismissed the report as inaccurate.
Last year, WSJ again found itself ridiculed for false reporting when it claimed that electric car maker Tesla had suffered a plunge in sales for one of its models. The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, took to Twitter on October 28 to reveal sale volumes, saying WSJ was “incorrect” in its reporting.
Russians in the Ukraine
Early this year, in an article titled “The Russians are coming, again,” WSJ reported that Russian proxies shelled a city called Avdiyivka in the Ukraine during a ceasefire. It was later shown that the report was mere speculation and WSJ was accused of “journalistic malpractice”.
Over the years, WSJ has been accused of deceptive journalism from various organisations around the world. With its so-called “evidence” against Najib, the only way to settle the issue is through a legal suit. Let independent investigation teams do their work and let the truth be told.
WSJ’s allegations against the prime minister are serious and drastic measures need to be taken against the paper if the allegations are false. If they are proven to be true, then Najib has no choice but to resign. [Free Malaysia Today]