BY R. NADESWARAN
JOURNALISTS are often reminded that, like a coin, there are two sides to a story. “Get the other side to comment on the story,” editors would scream. When there is no response, the story will include these immortal words: “He declined to comment”.
On June 25 last year, no Malaysian knew the name Xavier Justo, a Swiss businessman. In a series of reports, the media painted him as a greedy, ruthless and cold-blooded blackmailer.
The NST trumpeted his arrest by the Thai police in an exclusive report which it said had the country talking and “followed by newspapers and online media around the world”.
Nirmal Gosh of the Singapore Straits Times, who was the first to interview Justo, claimed the “difficulty of gaining access to the man” and that he had to “call the Thai police every day, sometimes twice a day”. But there’s another side to this as we would learn later.
Justo “confessed” to having met several people and was the “bad boy” in wanting to “topple a democratically elected government”.
In subsequent reports and analyses, newspapers used his “confession” to pooh-pooh the many assertions made by the foreign media. Read more