KUCHING: Local media should be proactive to counter destructive propaganda about Malaysia in the foreign press, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam.
He said the latest damaging campaign by the west against the countrys oil palm industry used the survival of the orang utans as an issue.
Dr Chan said the oil palm industry was projected in a bad light in that plantation projects had allegedly endangered the survival of the orang utans.
A proactive effort by the local media to correct any inaccurate and wrong perception about the country and state is crucial in nation-building efforts.
We have learnt in the past how damaging inaccurate propaganda can be and how difficult it has been to put right the unfair reports, he added when closing a political reporting workshop at Grand Continental Hotel here recently.
Some 20 journalists attended the four-day event jointly organised by Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) Sarawak branch, Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) and Kuching Division Journalists Association.
CJA Canada branch chairman Chris Cobb, a senior political writer, conducted the workshop.
Dr Chan said an effective world profiling of Malaysia and Sarawak had to be urgently done to explain to the world the countrys position in, for example, environmental management, human rights issues and economic development.
He advised media practitioners to be sensitive about inter-ethnic relationships in their reports, saying that extreme views by a minority on the subject could create racial misunderstanding and tension.