Friday, August 15, 2008

Watan back after 13 years (Malaysiakini)

Watan, a political daily popular in the 1980s, makes a comeback today after a 13-year break, but this time in the form of a weekly tabloid that will be circulated nationwide.

Watan’s publisher and editor Baha Azuwan told Malaysiakini 50,000 copies would be printed in the first edition. The selling price per paper is RM2 each.

“The immediate focus at this time is the Permatang Pauh by-election as well as the Umno meetings,” Baha said.

Watan has an interesting history. It was one of four newspapers banned in 1987, after their publishing permits were revoked by the government during the Operasi Lalang clampdown.The other three newspapers were the Star, Sin Chew, and the Sunday Star.

Fresh perspective

All four publications have since got back their permits, but although Watan’s was reinstated in 1988, it had to close shop in 1995 due to poor sales.

Renamed Mingguan Watan, the revamped paper plans to give readers a fresh perspective on the local political scene. It promises to give all parties fair space and coverage. Specials interviews with politicians such as PKR Information Chief Tian Chua and his Umno counterpart Muhammad Muhd Taib have already been done and in line for release.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar granted the new permit to Watan on Aug 1.

entire news n photo courtesy of Malaysiakini