Shafie: No need for formation of media council

Shafie (left) and Muguntan with other SJA members during the courtesy call.

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal is of the opinion that there is no need to set up a media council to act as a watchdog.

On the widely discussed issue, Shafie said the move was not necessary as it was important for the media to be independent.

“Let the media be independent. A council has tendency to be abused. I believe the media has to be allowed to speak their mind,” he said during a courtesy call by Sabah Journalists Association (SJA) on Monday.

“If there is a council, you will be controlled.

“For Sabah to move forward, the mindset has to change,” he said, also urging the local media to play their role in Sabah’s development.

The formation of a media council is being proposed to investigate any wrongdoing by media practitioners from print, online and broadcast.

Shafie stressed that he wanted the media to be independent and objective in carrying out their news reporting.

He said it was important for media to focus on issues objectively as they could connect with the people and their needs.

“I for one am ready to accept criticism. It should be objective and with basis,” he said.

He said with advent of social media, the media today had to build a trust with the people who became sceptical and critical as they could access a lot of information through social media.

“There is competition now as compared to the past.

“There should be a paradigm shift from the old system of how you operate. The people’s thinking is very different now. I like to see the media become more objective in doing their duties,” Shafie said.

“The reason people resort to social media is because there is a general lack of trust,” he added.

The chief minister was also briefed on the activities of SJA that has some 200 members from the private and government-owned media.

SJA president Muguntan Vanar and his committee also briefed Shafie on the media’s prestigious annual Kinabalu Shell Press Awards as well the plans by the association to put up a building in Kota Kinabalu.

Shafie said his administration appreciated the role of the media and would assist the association in its various endeavours.

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