Loyal Followers

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Astro, give some respect to your customers please!

This post is prompted by Astro’s chop-job of BBC news report as shown here.

The Malaysian Insider later reported that BBC had strongly condemned Astro’s move. A BBC spokesman was quoted as saying:

 ”During the week of World Press Freedom Day, it would be deplorable if access to independent and impartial news was being prevented in any way. We would strongly condemn any blocking of the trusted news that we broadcast around the world including via distribution partners.”

In response, Astro was reported to have said that the news report was subjected to a chop-job by Astro to “suit local rules.” No details or particulars of the said local rules were given by Astro.

I am a subscriber of Astro. In fact, I not only have one account, but two.

Generally, I must say I quite like Astro, particularly the sports, documentary and of course the international news sections. The movie section sucks big time. Astro must be the only television channel in the whole civilised world that is still showing Missing In Action 1,2 and 3. And Death Wish too. I would rather stare at a blank TV monitor rather than watch these movies, dear Astro.

Astro.com.my Portal   Subscriber Terms   Conditions

This is a screen shot of the terms of my subscription contract with Astro. Don’t bother reading it. My view is that it is one of the most lopsided agreement in this side of the universe. Basically, the agreement says I should pay Astro to subscribe certain packages. On the other hand, Astro is in effect not obliged or responsible to provide any kind of service whatsoever.

If this agreement is governed by English law, it might be challenged under the Unfair Contracts Terms Act 1977. But well, Malaysia does not have that kind of Act of law. We are more concerned with same sex shagging and the likes. Consumerism is not very important here. So we have big corporations riding roughshod over consumer rights and the likes. Who cares, right? You have got the choice of not subscribing if you are not happy, right?  So, sod off!

Essentially, what the terms of my subscription with Astro provide is as follows:

- I pay to watch programmes under certain packages

- Astro can revise the programmes anytime it likes

- Astro can also revise the amount I have to pay anytime

-Astro is not responsible nor liable for any interruption, suspension or termination of the services for any reason whatsoever

And this takes the cake:

“Astro makes no warranties or representations whatsoever with respect to the content of the programming included in the Services, in particular Astro does not guarantee the sequence, accuracy, completeness, timeliness or the security of any data or information contained in the Services.”

So, on the literal interpretation of the terms of subscription, we all pay fees to Astro and Astro don’t have to provide nuts to us. Astro is not responsible for anything under the agreement.

Granted.

Astro says in the agreement that it makes no warranty or representation with respect to the “accuracy or completeness” of the content of the programming.

Does that mean, if we watch the BBC channel on Astro, Astro can show the Kenyan’s news channel instead of BBC regardless of the fact that that channel is known as the BBC News Channel? On a quick reading and without employing some kind of intelligence, yes, it appears to be so.

So, Astro can do a chop-job on any BBC news report and shove it into our throat like some Lords shoving hot molten iron into some peasant’s throat in medieval time, right?

NO!

First of all, Astro may not have made any warranty or representation about the content in the agreement. But Astro does make a warranty and/or representation about the BBC News Channel and every other channel on its website and flyers. On BBC News Channel, this is what Astro warrants and/or represents:

“BBC World

Channel 512

BBC World News, the BBC´s commercially funded international 24-hour news and information channel, is owned and operated by BBC World News Ltd, a member of the BBC´s commercial group of companies. BBC World News attracts 74 million viewers a week, is available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, and reaches 292 million households and more than 1.7 million hotel rooms. The channel´s content is also available on 81 cruise ships, 46 airlines, 35 mobile phone networks and a number of major online platforms including bbc.com/news. For further information on how to receive BBC World News, download schedules or find out more about the channel, visit bbcworldnews.com.”

This is the screen shot.

Programme Guide

Basically, although Astro does not make any kind of warranty or representation in the subscription agreement, it does give all of us expectations that the BBC News that Astro is providing us is the one which is produced by, in its own words, the “BBC World News, the BBC´s commercially funded international 24-hour news and information channel, is owned and operated by BBC World News Ltd, a member of the BBC´s commercial group of companies.”

Further, although Astro is at pains (in its subscription agreement) to emphasise that it is not responsible for the “accuracy” or “completeness” of any of its data or content, Astro surely does not have the legal right to deliberately or intentionally distort, misrepresent or alter the content without the consent or at the very least, knowledge, of its customers.

The censorship or chop-job by Astro of the relevant BBC news report amount to just that, namely, the alteration or modification of a report which was published by Astro as the original and true report. If that was not a misrepresentation or a distortion, tell me what is.

The least Astrio could have done was to put a notice when that particular report was being aired to the effect that the clip was being censored, changed, altered or modified (call it whatever and howsoever you may like). That would let your customers know that what you are showing is not the original report.

At least, treat your customers with some respect! They pay you for God’s sake!

In Malaysia, nobody, and I mean. NOBODY respects copyrights and intellectual properties. Piracy is everywhere and for all to see. Pirated video games, movies and songs are sold everywhere. Watches, handbags, shoes and you name it, they are everywhere.

It is of much concern that private individuals do not respect copyrights. But when a huge corporation give scant respect to an original production by chopping it as it pleases and passing it as the original production without notice to its customers, that is really sick!

Astro’s purported explanation, to the effect that the report was chopped-up to “suit local rules” is at most, laudable for its efforts and laughable for its insult on our intelligence. What local regulations? Please show us.

If a news report does not suit local rules, the right thing to do is not to air it at all. If you have to air it, air it in full. And if you wanted to air it with modification, then by any means, tell your customers that the report is not the original one, at the very least. Professional courtesy also demands Astro to at least inform BBC about it.

As for Minister Dato’ Seri Utama Rais Yatim’s statement that the report shown by Astro shows the “best parts” of the news, well, I am not going to say anything about it. I will let the viewers make their own conclusion.

While Astro chopped a BBC news in order to show it’s “best parts”, the Star yesterday surely shoed the "best parts" of local news. And without any chop-job too if I may add. The Star had even seen it fit to provide the links to the blogs which carry the so-called sex pictures.

The Star must be the first ever “people’s paper” in the whole world to have provided links to alleged sex pictures of a politician.

Congratulations the Star. You have achieved a new standard in responsible reporting.

You deserve a Pulickzer.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

NO NO NO astro lagi lah !!

Anonymous said...

but malaysia demokerasi what? every 5 year got erection

Leithaisor said...

ASTRO's unfair contract is but yet another fruit of the years of downhill slide away from justice and fairplay which started during the too many years of Mahathir domination.

I recall that I refused to join a country club near my home years ago when I found that its terms and conditions were very much along the lines of ASTRO's subscriber contract. The club owners could change the terms and conditions as and when they liked, with the members having no say at all. Who owns that club? The younger brother of a long-time and close crony of Mahathir.

But more importantly, that same downhill slide has also manifested itself in many laws passed by the BN-dominated Parliament which effectively castrates the Judiciary - Minister has the final word, cannot be challenged in court.

So much for Najib's "best democracy"!

But MB Azizan of Pakatan-held Kedah is also inthat dung heap with his recent fatwa cannot be challenged in Civil or Syriah Court bombshell.

Donplaypuks® said...

"The Star must be the first ever “people’s paper” in the whole world to have provided links to alleged sex pictures of a politician."

I heard Buntutsan front-paged it as well.

Azmin is suing them all for $100 million each.

Dpp
we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

Kumara said...

The media depends on customers. If nobody subscribe to it, no one would want to advertise in it as well. It's dead.

Can we survive without mainstream media? Sure.
Can we survive a bankrupted country? Sure, and maybe we will enjoy it.

So, what are you waiting for?

Anonymous said...

What happens when politically parties own newspapers? They are just garbage!

Anonymous said...

Art,

First and foremost, who is this ancient relic called Dato Seri Utama Rais Yatim? Is he the same dinosaur who tried to cheat the International Tribunal by doctoring some photos of the infamous White Rock Island saga? If he's one and the same, then the "best part" is to totally ignore this ancient antiquated piece of dead wood.

Anak Mama said...

Our Consumer Protection Act was recently amended to make unfair contract terms unlawful. Problem is it's not currently in force yet. Once it is, I'm definitely going to let Astro have a piece of my mind.

Anonymous said...

Brother,
I was in Vietnam recently and in spite being a communist country the populace can tune in to international TV programs via satellite dishes.

The country does not have a privatized operator like ASTRO who not only decide not only what the citizenry can see but also charges them for that service.

Can you articulate something to the effect that in a democratic country the people can decide for themselves what to see, what to hear and to belief and for free.

Anonymous said...

dear Astro,
I have 2 accounts, and I keep seeing the same movies month in month out like one of the guy who mentioned about it in one of the comment. Come on be fair to us. We pay and I believe many of us have 2accounts

Anonymous said...

Dear Art: This belated comment comes to mind when I started to realize that most foreign channels relayed on Asxrx are actually delayed broadcast even when they were advertised as "live". I have been wondering why the time shown on screen of channels from foreign countries in the same time zone as Malaysia were always several minutes later than Malaysian time. What it means all contents by foreign channels when considered sensitive and "not deemed to be in line with local regulations" (whatever that means) by the power that be are likely to be doctored so that only "insensitized" content would be prescribed and delivered. Do any one hear about what BBC and Al-Jaz are to do to preserve their editorial integrity? Or is it business as usual? If that is so, beware that what you see whatever on Asxrx may not be the original but adulterated version. Btw, I believe your "request" to Asxrx to
notify their customer when they are censoring certain portions of content is very unlikely to be fulfilled because that would simply defy their intention of covering up that parts that are "unsuitable" to be viewed. Samsam

Anonymous said...

never had Asstro and will definitely not have it in my house!
makes an ass out of you; with all reruns, recycle and dumb and dumber shows especially Disny shows!
most cartoons are more to violence, rebellion and anti family!
also witchcraft, sorcery, supernatural are equal show as well;
2 accounts? must be crazy to throw away good money to watch shows that are of no purpose!
and to think that you can get uncensored news! might as well watch RTM!

Anonymous said...

minor correction;
.. supernatural are equally shown as well!

Anonymous said...

The company that owns Measat has the robocop on its board, the venerable Hanif Omar!

Just to make sure everything A-OK when he rolls the dice!

Roti Sunshine said...

'Art, Art where are thou art?" Your silence is deafening. Miss you, brother.

Anonymous said...

I've already unsubscribed Astro cos its Arse throw in Malay and the shows made us really arsed.