Big winners: Bavani (second left) and Hariati (left) receiving the trophy from Najib as (from right) Chay Wai Leong, group managing director of K & N Kenanga Holdings Berhad, Mokhtar and Ahiruddin look on.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Star won big at the prestigious National Press Club Awards Night 2014, bagging four awards.
Two of the winners, M. Bavani and Hariati Azizan, were joint winners for the same category – NPC Kenanga Best Reporter (English Medium).
They received a return economy class ticket to Dubai via Malaysia Airlines, cash prize of RM5,000 and a trophy each.
The Star’s photographer Azhar Mahfof won the NPC Photographer of the Year Award and received a return ticket to Hong Kong, RM5,000, a trophy and a HTC mobile phone.
Reporter Sharon Ling won NPC Best Reporter (Sarawak) while The Star’s Metro desk was named NPC Best Media Organisation (Community Service).
Ling received a return ticket to Kathmandu while the Metro desk was awarded a return ticket to Kochi.
Ling and the Metro desk were also awarded RM10,000 and a trophy each.
The five winners from The Star received the awards from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the ceremony here last night.
In his speech, Najib said while the press could hold governments, corporations and people accountable, this power also came with responsibility.
“Around the world, governments, regulators and the media are engaged in a discussion about the balance between media freedom and media responsibility,” he said.
Malaysia, he said, was also trying to find the right blend between democratic scrutiny and responsible reporting.
He said his legal team had recently issued a legal notice to a news portal which was found to have published allegations which “overstepped the line”.
“In a democracy, there will always be people who disagree with your policies or disapprove of your government.
“But there is a difference between legitimate criticism and defamation.
“I want to be very clear; this does not indicate any wider agenda. It is not part of any crackdown. It is not an attempt to silence critical voices,” he said.
Najib reminded politicians not to seek “cheap headlines” by making provocative remarks and journalists to report accurately and fairly.
Also present at the event were Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, NPC president Mokhtar Hussain and awards organising chairman Datuk Ahiruddin Attan.