Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad appealed to the world's media yesterday to ensure its blanket coverage of the US-led war against terrorism remained accurate. Speaking after the close of the Apec summit in Shanghai, Dr Mahathir said sloppy reporting and negligent fact-checking had damaged both innocent people and countries. The veteran Malaysian leader has had a sometimes strained relationship with the world's media. He told reporters yesterday Malaysia had been hurt by poorly checked reports, especially over an anthrax-tainted letter that had, allegedly, been posted to the United States from the Southeast Asian country. He said the letter had been posted from the US, held in Malaysia and then returned to the US as it could not be delivered. Four tests on its paper had produced two positive and two negative tests for anthrax. 'Well, if I speak the truth the media is going to get very angry with me. The media has always viewed me with a rather jaundiced eye,' he said. 'But the fact remains that reports were made about things that were not confirmed and this has created a lot of ill effects on countries like Malaysia.' The majority of Malaysia's population is Muslim. Dr Mahathir said Malaysia's tourism industry had suffered because of the stream of poor reporting. He also cited as damaging a separate report that Malaysian Airline System, the national airline, employed an Iraqi pilot. Although he said the report was true, he felt that it implied that the pilot was unsafe. Dr Mahathir, who has opposed US-led military action against the Taleban government and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, hit out at the use of computer-aided 'smart weapons'. 'We object especially against the use of so-called smart bombs and smart rockets because they have found in the past that they were not so smart. For example, the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia was hit by smart bombs,' he said. Beijing's embassy in Belgrade was struck by a Nato bomb during its campaign in 1999 against then Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. Dr Mahathir said the use of specialist ground forces would be 'more specific', cutting the number of Afghan civilian casualties. 'They [the troops] are not going to attack children and frighten mothers,' he said. 'They are going to go after the people whom they identify as terrorists. I think that that is an improvement [but] we are still not willing to support military action.' He said that Malaysian opposition leaders who had urged citizens to volunteer to fight in Central Asia for the Taleban, should themselves head for the front lines.