PETALING JAYA • A Chinese channel has been forced to remove all visuals from its news programmes, reportedly as punishment for using a photo of a dejected-looking Prime Minister Najib Razak, together with a photo of a businessman mired in a scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Video footage and images were conspicuously missing from the TV2 news programmes at the 12pm and 8pm slots yesterday, as the camera trained its lens on the face of the newsreader throughout both the 20-minute segments.
The news production crew seemed to be unprepared for the sudden order issued by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.
There were awkward moments when the newsreader cued in visuals as scripted but nothing, except the lone newsreader, appeared on the screen.
RTM Mandarin news head Tan Lee Won said she received instructions from top management on Wednesday evening to remove all visuals from the two news segments starting yesterday.
She added that she was not told how long the directive would be in force, and refused to comment on the reported punishment.
It is believed that the issue was triggered by a collage broadcast by TV2 during its 8pm news programme on Tuesday.
It showed a grim-faced Datuk Seri Najib, looking downwards, with a photo of Penang-born businessman Jho Low, a close friend of Mr Najib's stepson, next to him.
Mr Low has been linked to 1MDB, a state fund whose board of advisers is headed by Mr Najib, and which is now under investigation for alleged mismanagement and corruption.
The Malaysiakini news website said it has contacted Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak, and was awaiting his response.
SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK