Be brave, media urged

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Source: The Borneo Post Online

CM challenges media practitioners to expose injustice, abuse and truth, assures them of his support

Winners of Kenyalang Journalism Awards 2015 pose with Adenan and key representatives from the state government, Shell Malaysia, Sarawak Energy, Sarawak Hidro and MPI. — Photos by Chimon Upon

Winners of Kenyalang Journalism Awards 2015 pose with Adenan and key representatives from the state government, Shell Malaysia, Sarawak Energy, Sarawak Hidro and MPI. — Photos by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Media organisations have been encouraged to be daring in exposing truth and injustice in society in their reports.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem said this would enable members of society to ‘wake up’ rather than being mere bystanders, and inspire them be more proactive towards issues such as child labour and abuse, domestic violence, poverty, corruption and any form of illegal activities.

“Keep on exposing injustices practised in our society. Once people read it on the newspapers, they would realise how unjust some people could be, and also (it could be) a reflection of themselves for doing nothing,” he said in his address at the Kenyalang Journalism Awards (KJA) 2015 on Friday night, held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

On corruption, he said the media held the responsibility of highlighting and exposing it to inform the people on what was actually going on.

“Do not be in denial by saying that the level of corruption in Malaysia is tolerable, in comparison with our neighbours. Do not pretend that this thing (corruption) does not exist — they do. Now we know that we have underestimated the situation.”

Adenan also cautioned against underestimating the issue of illegal immigrants in the state otherwise it could lead to a situation like what is happening in Sabah.

Preventive measures, he said, must be taken now and on this, the media could play a vital role by exposing illegal labour rackets or syndicates in the state.

On another note, the chief minister said the state government was focusing on eliminating poverty, especially in the rural areas due to the widening gap of income between the rich and the poor.

“Find out these poverty pockets and expose them on what the government has done, not done or yet to be done, by going out to the rural areas outside of major cities and towns.”

This, Adenan said, would enable the people to be more conscious on the lack of facilities in the rural areas as well as those that had been provided by the government.

However, he said it would only be fair that news reports also touch on the positive happenings and not only highlight negative issues in the state.

“When people talk about the freedom of expression, it is usually seen as a right to support the opposition, it can also mean the freedom to support the government. There must be a balanced picture — do not think that only because one village has no water supply, the whole country is without water supply.”

The media, Adenan pointed out, must also practise fairness in their reports by not accusing people without any back-up points or concrete proof.

Touching on the environment such as the degradation of forests, rivers, mountains, hills and valleys, Adenan said the media could play a big role in making readers become naturalists; not greedy individuals who saw forests and the environment as a whole with a ‘dollar sign’.

“We have to raise the consciousness in us so that we can leave the future generation with an environment that is pristine and almost intact,” he said,

Meanwhile KJA 2015 organising chairperson Phyllis Wong said the state’s media fraternity owed much to Sarawak Shell Bhd for its solid support towards the development of local journalism over the past 26 years through its sponsorship of the annual press awards.

“The press community (in Sarawak) is indebted to Shell for the respect that the group has been giving over the years.

“(There was) never a time have you (Shell) asked for any repayment for your kindness. Thank you for respecting the impartiality and professionalism of journalists,” she said in her opening remarks at this year’s annual awards show.

Phyllis further pointed out that there was no better occasion to register the gratitude than on the first awards night organised by the Federation of Sarawak Journalists Association (FSJA).

“Special thanks to the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) for accepting the judging of entries at such a short notice this year. MPI, together with Shell, handled the entries, decided on the judging panel and finalised the results.”

The KJA 2015, themed ‘Masquerade’, was attended by around 250 members of the print and electronic media fraternity in the state.

Adding further, Phyllis said when Shell indicated last year that it hoped for other corporate bodies and the state government to take over the annual event and for FSJA to lead the organisation of the event, her team thought it was ‘mission impossible’.

“With the nod from the state government, Shell continued its commitment as the gold sponsor together with Sarawak Energy Bhd, followed by Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd as the silver sponsor,” she said.

She also highlighted that support also came from Local Government and Community Development Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, SUPP president Senator Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, SPDP president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan, Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage Liwan Lagang, Naim Holdings Bhd and the state Information Department.