Some disturbing news have been circulating for sometime now, that sports journalists and sports editors have become so powerful, that they can dictate the path of Malaysian sports, for good or bad.
Yes, sports journalists and sports editors are the watchdogs of Malaysian sports and through their comments give their views to the best of their knowledge backed with facts and figures and in the interest of Malaysian sports.
But not always are they right with their views because they are not furnished with the full facts and figures, or sports officials engage these writers to slant the article the way they want it.
There have been newspapers and sports journalist who have been openly boasting that they can chart the path of Malaysian sports and ensure that the people they want to hold high positions in sports associations and agencies is at their call.
There is also talk that some sports journalists who are on the payroll of associations or bodies. Others get benefits of other kinds - paid trips overseas, golf invitations both locally and overseas, goodies etc.
Sports journalists are said to be playing politics too!
Some even use high places to try and attempt to stop their new bosses from coming to their organisations, because their positions maybe threatened.
Then there complaints from sports organisations and privates sectors, that some sports journalists asked to be paid for them to cover their events!
Asking for petrol money to cover events is said to have become the norm.
There was another accusation that a sports journalist who was given a paid trip by an organisation to a meeting overseas, actually had voted on behalf of another country who was not present!
Whatever has happened to the good clean sports journalism we used to know.
I remember the days of the late Tan Sri Noordin Sopiee and Tan Sri Munir Majid, when they were Group Editors of the New Straits Times, that there was a standing rule that any door gifts given at press conferences - no matter how small or big - must be declared to the office in official form to be signed by the sports editor and then submitted to the Group Editor. Only with approval of the Group Editor, can the reporter keep whatever door gifts given.
These days we have journalists who do not go for Press Conferences, but when they hear from their colleagues that some expensive door gifts were given, they will call organisers of the Press Conference the next day and say that they had missed the event because of another assignment and demand for the door gift and the press kit! But whether the event sees print is a million ringgit question.
For the sake of sports journalism in Malaysia, I hope that all that is being circulated is mere rumours.
But then again, there will be no smoke without fire.
I was accused of being close to the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) when I used to cover them extensively and went to many overseas tournaments. Rumours were circulated that my trips were paid by MTBC.
But the truth of the matter was that every trip I went was approved by my company after budgets were submitted and I had to cover for both The Malay Mail and the New Straits Times.
It was just that Malay Mail saw bowling as a rising sports which will bring glory to the nation and started to give more and more coverage,before the rest started to follow when the results that coming.
There was even one official from the National Sports Council who had in a seminar blatantly mentioned me by name and accused me of being close with MTBC, bias and going on trips on MTBC's funds.
I confronted the officials and asked him to verify all my trips with my employers and asked him if he had mentioned my name, but denied it.
The crux of the matter was that all funds for MTBC's overseas tournaments were coming from NSC and MTBC had to give detailed accounts of how they spent the money. The officer could have easily checked if any funds was used for me. Obviously not and yet he had the audacity to smear my name.
But if the rumours have any truth in it these days, I wonder why everyone is keeping quiet about.
Probably, everyone has an agenda.
Indeed, if all these allegations are true, it is sad for Malaysian sports because the very people who are suppose to remain above board and be fair, have lost their integrity.
Once again, I hope that all that has been said of sports journalists these days is just rumours for the sake of Malaysian sports!