GEORGE TOWN: Penang police are upset with the media over the reporting of what they say are “untruths” on the events leading to the attempted suicide of student M Vasanthapiriya.
Penang Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief SAC Zainol Samah said these “untruths” could jeopardise the ongoing investigation into the case.
He also criticised the “unethical press” for reporting on the issue based on hearsay, instead of facts. However, he did not specify these offending reports.
Zainol also called for reporters to be patient as the police finished its probe before making any findings public, urging the media not to report unverified facts in the meantime.
“The press must be responsible, it is in your (journalistic) ethics. I have studied this, so I know. You have to be responsible over whatever you report.
“Just because you cannot reach us for comment, that does not allow you to write false news. If possible, in the future, it is best all of you do not report such things.
“There are some cases where we cannot reveal info at that particular time. We just have the raw facts.
“It is like frying a fish before you can skin it,” Zainol said at a press conference today.
When a reporter explained the reports on Vasanthapiriya thus far were based on police reports and some queries by the press were not answered, he said reporters ought to be patient.
“You cannot simply ask questions. You must wait for our investigations to be completed. You cannot have a trial by media.
“You are bound by a social responsibility to those involved in the case,” he said.
Zainol said police will be fair to all parties in the investigation into Vasanthapiriya’s case.
Vasanthapiriya attempted to take her own life on Jan 24 after being accused of stealing her teacher’s iPhone.
She was saved by her father who then sent her to hospital. However, she never regained consciousness and died on Feb 1.
Vasanthapiriya’s case garnered national attention after her uncle filed a police report stating that she was allegedly confined by her accuser at school before being driven home some five hours later.
Earlier, South Seberang Perai district police chief Supt Shafee Abdul Samad said police had recorded statements from 24 people, including the 46-year-old teacher and her 48-year-old husband.
Shafee added that six police reports had been lodged about the case, including two from the teacher.
“The teacher lodged a report denying her phone had been found, and another report was about her feeling embarrassed after the incident went viral on social media.”
Shafee previously said police had wrapped up investigations and the case had been referred to the deputy public prosecutor’s office.