PETALING JAYA: Bernama has instructed a TV host who lashed out at Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera using derogatory language to attend lessons on the ethics of journalism, to be conducted by the national news agency’s chairman himself.
Herleena Pahlavy, whose outburst against Al Jazeera over its controversial documentary on Malaysia’s treatment of migrants led to her suspension this week, said the one-to-one sessions with chairman Suhaimi Sulaiman would be conducted over a three-month period, before she could be allowed on air again.
Herleena, however, denied that she had been suspended, saying instead that she was serving “positive punishment”.
“For time being, I’ll continue to read news as per my schedule,” she posted on Twitter.
Herleena was one of two hosts on Bernama’s “Malaysia Petang Ini” programme to discuss Al Jazeera’s documentary “Locked up in Malaysia’s Lockdown”, which angered Malaysian officials and led to a police investigation.
At the end of the show, Herleena said Al Jazeera should rightly be renamed “Al-Jahiliyah”, the Arabic term for “ignorance” which is usually used to refer to pagan Arabia.
She then closed with this statement: “I am Leena Pahlavy. Al Jazeera, you shut up.”
Her action drew criticism from Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, whose ministry oversees the national news agency.
Despite her initial defiance, Herleena today apologised for her action.
“I’m well aware that I have unintentionally hurt some of my fellow Malaysians with what I’ve said. It was unethical and something I uttered on the spur of the moment.
“I’m genuinely regretful for all that’s happened. Rest assured such an incident will not occur again,” she said.
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