PETALING JAYA: The home ministry has issued a show cause letter to English daily The Star over its front page blunder on Saturday that has led to many calling for the daily to be suspended.
In a statement today, the ministry said the daily now had seven days to explain why action shouldn’t be taken against it under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
The suspension of its publishing permit was also a possibility, the ministry said, adding that the layout of the front page could lead to confusion among members of the public, give rise to misunderstandings, and cause prejudice towards Muslims who may be linked to terrorism.
“It has also indirectly mocked the religion of Islam.
“The press is responsible for ensuring that the unity and harmony of the multiracial and multi-religious society is always protected.”
The ministry also reminded the press to refrain from publishing sensitive material that could jeopardise public peace.
Earlier today, The Star’s editors met the home ministry over the front page, which featured the headline news “Malaysian terrorist leader”, along with a separate front-page photo placed below the headline which showed Muslims at prayer.
However members of the public, along with leaders from both sides of the political divide, condemned the front page which they said made all Muslims look like terrorists.
In an immediate response, The Star issued an apology for its “poor judgment”.
According to the daily, it was the newspaper’s practice to publish front page pictures of Muslims performing tarawih prayers on the first day of Ramadan as a mark of respect for the holy month.
“This year, there was an unfortunate coincidence of the lead story being of a terrorist leader, that led to many linking the headline and the picture, which was never the intention of the newspaper.
“We sincerely apologise for the error of judgment on our part,” it said in a statement.