Responsible reporting? Better stay offline for now then…

Posted on March 28, 2011


Fitzrovia. Anyone know where it is?

Until just now, I had no idea either.

Apparently, it’s a place in London.

Of course, visitors to rimautaskerusi (the blog) would know that references to London town would mean that I’ll be taking potshots at the sister-in-law of the former Prime Minister of the UK.

Actually, I won’t be referring to her…not yet, anyway.

This area in London town, Fitzrovia it’s called, has a community newspaper called Fitzrovia News.

Nothing interesting so far…until a dear friend alerted me to the fact that the community newspaper was forced to apologise for a story published about a property company in London that was supposed to have benefited from Sarawak timber money.

Now how in heaven’s name could a community paper in London town come up with a story about a place halfway around the world giving timber money to a property company in Fitzrovia!

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the sister-in-law of a former UK prime minister may have been in Fitzrovia recently.

Perhaps she was accompanied on her visit to Fitzrovia by her friend from Sarawak, a former civil servant and entertainment radio deejay, who has now re-incarnated himself into a self-styled political activist based in London town.

By the way, she now pays him big bucks to deejay for her online radio show called Radio Free Sarawak, which has not been as popular as they had hoped because the drivel was driving longhouse folks up the wall, apparently.

I imagine that after a long day in the fields, the last thing on my mind, as a longhouse dweller, would be to listen to political propaganda by a guy, who calls himself Papa Orang Utan!

However, I do feel sorry for the community newspaper. It was surely asked to publish the story by someone it felt could be trusted.

But when asked to produce evidence to back up its story, I’m pretty sure the wellspring of information that Fitzrovia News thought was found in the form of opposition blog Sarawak Report turned out to be a dry well, instead.

Did I somehow link this story to the sister-in-law of a former UK prime minister and her spin machine opposition blog  Sarawak Report?

I guess I did. Must be from reading too much of the opposition blog Sarawak Report.

I guess it’s tough to run a newspaper, even a small community newspaper, which I imagine Fitzrovia News is.

Even they have to reach certain standards that blogs are not required to live up to (not yet, anyway!).

If they write things they can’t prove, they could go to court for it. It’s also one of the biggest dangers of being an armchair journalist.

Bloggers, as you all know, can write about anything they like online, especially things they can’t prove.

Once in a while you will read about bloggers who are “interviewed” by the police but most of the time, these bloggers are the equivalent of London’s Sunday Times. Not London’s Fitzrovia News.

The point is, even a community paper as small as Fitzrovia News has to live up to standards that even the high and mighty opposition blog Sarawak Report are not subjected to, because at the end of the day, it is still just a blog.

Maybe the point is I should start a community newspaper and raise the standard of my own blog, instead!

Retraction and Apology – Ridgeford Properties Limited

Posted on 28/03/2011 by FN

By Linus Rees

On 28 February 2011, Fitzrovia News published an article linking Ridgeford Properties Limited to Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Malaysia. The article made a number of unfounded allegations, including claims that Ridgeford was part of a multi-billion property empire controlled by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, that this empire gained from the proceeds of illegal timber in the Malaysian State, and that Ridgeford’s Bolsover Street development was part-funded by such illegally obtained money.

We now accept that these allegations are entirely without foundation, Fitzrovia News is pleased to confirm that Ridgeford Properties Limited is not funded by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, who has no business interest in or control over the company.

We apologise unreservedly to Ridgeford Properties Limited, as well as its directors and staff, for the distress and damage caused by our article. As Ridgeford Properties have been a stakeholder in the area for over 16 years, it has kindly agreed to waive any claim for damages on the basis that it is a supporter of Fitzrovia News as a positive force in the community.

Posted in: Sarawak Politics