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Mahathir attacks Western media for biased reporting against Islam

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July 2, 2000


KUALA LUMPUR, JULY 1 (AP) - Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad urged Muslim nations to cooperate by sharing news with each other rather than depending on "corrupt" Western news organizations, a news report said.


"The almost absolute power of the Western media corrupts almost absolutely," he was quoted by the national news agency Bernama as saying Friday at a conference for Islamic understanding.


The conference was held in conjunction with a four-day meeting of the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference in Kuala Lumpur which ended Friday. Participants included international news groups such as The Australian, International Herald Tribune, United Press International, Financial Times and Asiaweek.


Mahathir accused western media of reporting only news that fits a certain agenda, Muslim countries should depend on their own national news agencies to get a clearer picture of what is happening in the Muslim world, he said.


"If we don't have any faith in our own news agencies, we tend to publish what is distributed by the western wire services. As a result we don't get at least an alternative view," he said.


Mahathir, a vociferous critic of the Western media, said there were many cases of the media discriminating against Muslims by stereotyping and linking terrorism to Islam.


"While terrorists of Muslim faith are called Muslim terrorists, no one talks of Muslims who have been oppressed, massacred and expelled from their homeland as Muslim victims," he said.


The 74-year-old leader said that Muslims were ready to correct the negative image but they needed cooperation, particularly, from the Western media.


Terrorism, he added, was not an Islamic invention but a weapon which Muslims learned from non-Muslims.


Mahathir, who has ruled this Southeast Asian nation for 19 years, was himself named last month by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists as one of its top ten "Enemies of the Press" for the second consecutive year. 


The CPJ accused Mahathir of controlling most major media in this Southeast Asian nation for the past two decades and curbing the opposition press.

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