Distasteful and de-dignifying

Berita Harian frontpage 25 July 2014

Berita Harian frontpage 25 July 2014

In the eagerness of getting attention or a sordid way of generating sympathy towards the victims of the brutal downing of Malaysia Airlines B777-200ER 9M-MRD on scheduled flight MH17, Berita Harian presented a distasteful front page story with uniforms of MH stewardesses.

The picture depicts that these uniforms must have came of corpses. What is more sad, these corpses must be naked.

The Malay Mail online story on 18 July 2014:

Bodies rained down on Ukraine village after MH17 disaster

JULY 18, 2014


ROZSYPNE, July 18 — First came the loud explosion that made buildings rattle: then it started raining bodies.

One of the corpses fell through the rickety roof of Irina Tipunova’s house in this sleepy village, just after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 exploded high over eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are fighting government forces.

“There was a howling noise and everything started to rattle. Then objects started falling out of the sky,” the 65-year-old pensioner said in front of her grey-brick home.

“And then I heard a roar and she landed in the kitchen, the roof was broken,” she said, showing the gaping hole made by the body when it came through the ceiling of the kitchen in an extension to the house.

The dead woman’s naked body was still lying inside the house, next to a bed.

About 100m from Tipunova’s home, dozens more dead bodies lay in the wheat fields where the airliner came down yesterday, killing all 298 people on board.

Still visibly shaken by her experience, Tipunova said: “The body’s still here because they told me to wait for experts to come and get it.”

Another local resident in her 20s who refused to give her name said she ran outside after hearing the plane explode.

“I opened the door and I saw people falling. One fell in my vegetable patch,” she said.

Red rose and plastic sheets


It was not only bodies that fell from the sky. Chunks of metal, pieces of luggage and other debris came crashing down to the ground in this agricultural area about 40km from the border with Russia.

The front of the plane fell in a field of sunflowers about one km from Tipunova’s home. Debris, bodies and body parts were scattered for miles around.

Rescue workers say they have found most of the corpses, some of them largely intact, others mangled. Some have been piled together but others lie where they fell, the place identified by sticks placed in the ground with white cloth attached.

Some of the corpses have been wrapped in almost transparent plastic sheets, the corners held down with small mounds of soil or stones. Pairs of uncovered legs poke out from under some of the sheets, and at least one had a red carnation on top.
Among the dead were many women and children, including a boy of about 10 still lying beside the cockpit, his small body covered by a plastic sheet.

Much of the scene was in chaos 24 hours after the plane was brought down. Abandoned shoes lay all around, with boxes of tablets that spilled out of a medical cabinet, empty suitcases and articles of clothing strewn over the fields.

In an effort to clean up some of the carnage, body parts have been washed off the pot-holed road where they fell to the earth, along with parts of the fuselage and wings showing the red and blue Malaysia Airlines logo.

Emergency workers, few in numbers yesterday, had arrived in force by today, setting up base in two large tents. Journalists and local residents wandered largely unimpeded through the ashes and charred wreckage.

Rebel fighters in combat fatigues watched the proceedings nervously. Kiev has accused them of shooting down the plane, but they have denied this and are pledging not to prevent an international investigation going ahead.

The constant sound of mortar fire and shooting in the distance served as a reminder of the conflict raging between the separatist rebels and the government forces who are trying to quell their three-month old revolt against rule from Kiev. — Reuters


Nevermind the fact that the explosion at 33,000ft when 9M-MRD was probably flying at 90% the speed of sound caused the energy to even have clothes dislodged from the bodies.

However the worse tragedy is for Berita Harian to provide the evidence in living colour which very much corroborated the Reuters story that there were “Naked bodies rained from the sky” and probably strewn all over the plains near Grabovo is very distasteful.

That also means the the paper failed to treat the remains of the victims of the MH17, which in this case is probably Malaysians since they are Malaysia Airlines cabin crews, in the dignified manner.

The brave athletes of the Malaysian Team Commonwealth Game 2014, demonstrating espirit de corp towards Malaysia Airlines and the nation in mourning, with the spirit of sportsmanship at the opening ceremony in Glasgow, Scotland

The brave athletes of the Malaysian Team Commonwealth Game 2014, demonstrating espirit de corp towards Malaysia Airlines and the nation in mourning (wearing black armbands and flag flown half mast), without in anyway impair the spirit of sportsmanship at the opening ceremony in Glasgow, Scotland

The story about the remains of the 298 souls perished in Malaysia’s most trying moment should be presented with a lot more respect and honour. Just like how the athletes of the Malaysian Team Commonwealth Games 2014 honour and tribute the victims of the brutal downing of 9M-MRD in the opening ceremony in Glasgow.

Published in: on July 25, 2014 at 14:15  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. the uniform doesnt mean it came from the wearer at the time of incident. it could be from extras from the crews suitcases. and uniforms stripped from naked bodies while falling down wouldnt be in such perfect condition. my thoughts.

    • That is besides the point. The point that we must make is respect to the victims. Don’t make sensational reporting that will bring shame to the victims and their families. Show respect. Have some common courtesy, which itself is no longer common anymore.

  2. It could come from the crew’s luggage. At least that’s what I had in mind since the uniform is not covered with blood and seems to be in perfect condition.

  3. Since Tun Dol’s time, the standard of news reporting and editing has gone bonkers. New Straits Times group of newspapers went down during the Riong Kali’s period of editorship, such that NST went down in sales, blogs and “news portals” that are neither news nor portals abounded.

    It became much worse when the Opposition groups started buying into newspapers. The Malay Mail even had an agreement with Malaysia Kini on usage of news. The blog that got sued by DS Najib and one other recently.

    This is what Malaysia should be doing – whack the irresponsible blokes with legal suits, job dismissals, high defamation awards by the Courts etc:

    A Singaporean blogger sued by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for libel has been fired from his job as a healthcare worker for “improper public conduct”, his employer said, as reported by the Singapore Straits Times.

  4. Where the newspapers are not sensitive to public sentiments and respect for the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives, boycott them.

    Additionally, the authorities can even use the stick – no need to dangle any carrots for them to behave, it’s 57 years since independence, they should know what nation building requires of the role and contribution of newspapers.

    Do like what Singapore leaders do, never mind people saying Malaysia always reacts when Singapore acts.

    The French news organization AFP says local media in Singapore is tightly controlled.

    Media firms like Bloomberg, The Economist and the Financial Times have previously paid damages and apologised to Singapore leaders including Lee Hsien Loong and his father, Lee Kuan Yew, for publishing articles found to be defamatory etc.

    International human rights groups have accused Singapore leaders of using financially ruinous libel actions to silence critics and political opponents. So what?

    The Lees and other ruling party leaders say the lawsuits are necessary to protect their reputations from unfounded attacks. I urge Malaysian leaders to continue suing the newspaper and errant so-called news portals.

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