MH370: Trial By Media

Ever since the disappearance of flight MH370, Malaysia has come under intense flak and have been accused of not being forthcoming nor transparent with information related to the search for and investigation into the flight.

As we all know, the disappearance of the 370 is unprecedented. In past incidents, demands flow when planes are hijacked; debris is found at crash sites. In this incident, we still don’t know how flight MH370 ended, and we can only guess where the plane might be. A coalition of nations is now searching for the airplane, and numerous false alarms have emitted from the search teams, but somehow Malaysia foots the blame for all that.

We cannot be filling in the information gap with fantasies that would lead to even worse form of speculation, but somehow the media, a foreign one in particular, is not contented with what has been presented to them thus far. This particular media even compared the lack of flow of information in the 370’s case with that of the Asiana crash at the San Francisco airport (SFO). Whether or not ethical reporting or common sense are present in that organisation, you cannot compare the 370 to the Asiana crash. Of course information was in abundance in the latter but it is only because it crashed at the airport. In the 370’s, we do not even know where it went down, let alone how! However, it would be futile to argue about ethics with a media organisation that could even fill in the information gap with absurd theories such as the Black Hole and the existence of another Bermuda Triangle.

The hunger for ratings and sensational news gets the best of this organisation. A month after the disappearance, it ran a story to suggest that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) had scrambled fighters at 8am on 8th March 2014 to search for the missing airplane. I did a quick check with friends in the RMAF and they denied that fighters were scrambled. This is reinforced by categorical official denials by the Minister of Defence as well as by the RMAF itself.

This media then even suggested that the 370 flew at 4,000 feet to evade military radar near Pulau Perak only to re-appear 120 nautical miles away heading north-northwest. I hope that this media organisation realise that the USAF has spent trillions of US Dollars to acquire stealth aircraft such as the B-2, F-117 and the F-22. If a Boeing 777 could evade from military radar then the USAF was suckered into spending so much when they could have had a much cheaper solution in the 777.

Every time there is a press conference, although the information given, if at all available, is always about the search and rescue effort. However, all the questions posed by journos are about finding out who is to be blamed for the 370’s disappearance. More than twice that I have heard a journalist asking the CEO of Malaysia Airlines, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, if he would resign. Had the journalists done their homework, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon only left Air France in 2011, two years after the Flight 447 tragedy, and only because of the merger between Air France and KLM.

In other incidents, airlines capped the duration of assistance rendered to the families affected by an aircrash to only one week. This has been more than a month yet MAS is still supporting the families. I am disgusted with people who are so thankless towards MAS despite the fact.

The media should know better that this plane is still missing and not a lot is known about it. As such, information may be scarce and not free-flowing. If there is nothing to be reported, then don’t report or speculate. You won’t do justice to the passenger, crew and their family members. There are other pressing issues that could be covered such as Crimea, the Rohingyas. Running down a country just because it hasn’t given you the information needed to increase your ratings certainly shows your immaturity and malicious intent.