Monday, November 30, 2015


Headline in the Herald on-line ... 'Diplomat Admits Indecent Assault'.     This referring to Warrant Officer Muhummad Rizalman bin Asmail and his now admitted indecent assault on a young female in Wellington last year.

The incident created much controversy with MFAT apologizing for their handling of the case including allowing Rizalman to skip the country.

But the dear old Herald runs with the Headline 'Diplomat .....'    Rizalman was never a diplomat.   He was the administration assistant to the Malaysian Defence Attache ... in other words, typist, file manager, coffee maker, gofer ... but I guess that doesn't sound nearly so impressive as 'diplomat' ... sigh.

p.s.   Stuff describes Rizalman as a 'military attache' .... not right either.


Shelldrake said...

These are very simple facts that they can't get right. What hope do we have when they are required to deal with highly complicated issues. There just doesn't seem to be any editorial oversight. Always quick to criticise and demand high standards from others.

Noel said...

The media wasn't alone on his status.
He claimed diplomatic immunity to the police and MFAT allowed him to return home.
All credit to Malaysia for ensuring his return.

Noel said...

On reflection his status doesn't change anything. On been charged he invoked diplomatic immunity. From that point it required Malysia to revoke it. After some considerable delay it did just that. Could have been the embassy "shoe shine" employee the result would have been the same.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... you miss the point entirely. Rizalman was, under the Vienna Protocols, entitled to claim diplomatic immunity as an employee of the Malaysian High Commission and from that point on it was up to the Malaysian Government to waive that immunity which, to their considerable credit, they did.

But that immunity does not mean he was a diplomat, neither was he an attache, and that was my simple point.

I held a red (diplomatic) passport for a period when I was MA to the Minister of Foreign Affairs but that did not mean I was a diplomat.

Clearly the MSM have neither the will nor the wit to do the proper research.

Noel said...

I fail to see that outcomethe failure of media to accurately report his status has any impact on the outcome. As far as Joe Kiwi is concerned an employee of an Embassy in NZ hasn't escaped a charge under NZ law. There have been some who have.

James said...

I also get very frustrated at our media's lack of ability to understand massive differences in military ranks and terms. Calling him the Defence Attache - what a joke! Other examples of the media being ignorant and incorrect include calling private soldiers "officers" (especially when they are in trouble), referring to the "Battle of Baghuk" (when it was an engagement. A battle is something else entirely), mispronouncing Lieutenant, calling Light Armoured Vehicles "Tanks", the list could go on and on!

I got especially annoyed when the PM and a media contingent visited our troops in Iraq. What was the main focus of all their stories? The travel there and back. Never mind the actual servicemen and women, it was all about their own travails in dust storms etc.

It comes down to a very basic contempt for the military that pervades not just our media but many of our institutions.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... again, you miss the point entirely. Not talking about the outcome. That stands where it stands. Talking about getting the terminology right or, more precisely, the failure of the MSM to undertaken even a modicum of research before rushing into print.

In years past this sort of sloppy reporting would have seen the journo responsible relegated to covering meetings of the CWI or suchlike. Sadly today they get away with it and that is why, for many, the MSM occupies the same space as used car salesmen.

I take it you are happy for this to occur without comment?

Shelldrake said...

Right on the ball Vet. The lazy, self indulged media are a joke. I wonder if they ever observe and evaluate the skills of other media. E.g BBC, AL Jezera CNN. There are more examples of our lightweight journalists every day.

Today the Cairns trial and du Plessis Allen/Soper caper.

All poorly researched, presented and worst of all, not subjected to strong editorial oversight and supervision. All about the messenger and sod all about the message.

Noel said...

NZ Press Council for print media Channel complaints procedure for TV.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... again, not the issue, and what's the point of spending time and energy to see a slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket. They're not going to improve; people can make their own judgements.

Noel said...

Not going to complain?
So you and Sheldrake are just having a rant?
Geez what a waste of O2.

Shelldrake said...


The issue is not one of a specific complaint. My observation is that the NZ media are not up to the mark all over. That is an editorial, management and governance issue. They are just sub standard.