MELAKA: To ensure freedom of expression in the country, the media should remain free to operate without any interference from other parties, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
In this regard, he said the government had never prevented the media from publishing any reports, and had in fact used certain news articles as a guide for taking follow-up actions, such as in extending assistance for the well-being of Keluarga Malaysia (The Malaysian Family).
"The government always takes note of reports published in the media. All government ministries and agencies always cooperate with the media by facilitating in the dissemination of balanced, accurate and authentic information which is to the satisfaction of the whole Keluarga Malaysia.
"In the interests of Keluarga Malaysia and the country’s development, I can give an assurance that the government has nothing to hide in the dissemination of information,” he said when launching the National Journalists Day (Hawana) 2022 celebration here Sunday (May 29).
Also present at this year’s Hawana celebration, themed "People's Voice, National Aspiration”, was Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa. Among the key media practitioners from Indonesia present at the event were chief editors and leaders of the Malaysian-Indonesian Journalists' Association (Iswami).
The Prime Minister acknowledged the role of journalists as the fourth estate who, together with the executive, legal and judiciary branches, worked with the government to make a success of the country’s development agenda.
"I truly appreciate the contributions of journalists in ensuring continuity and success of development programmes, including by providing solid and constructive comments so that the government could extend the best service to the people in line with the aspiration and concept of Keluarga Malaysia," he said.
He said journalists were regarded as thinkers because they used fresh ideas and the latest information to produce articles which can ensure that Keluarga Malaysia remains an informed society.
The government hoped that journalists would continue to be proactive and write fair reports when suggesting solutions to any issues raised, he said.
"I am confident that the check-and-balance approach taken on every piece of information received before publication will continue to be a practice of the media to avoid any misreporting which can undermine the integrity of the media and public trust towards it,” he added.
The Prime Minister also congratulated the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), an agency under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, for continuing with the initiative to organise Hawana 2022 with the support of other media organisations in the country.
He also announced a RM1mil allocation to Iswami for it to implement activities which can strengthen the long-established media ties between Malaysia and Indonesia as well as other neighbouring countries.
"It is hoped that with this allocation, Iswami can plan programmes on cooperation between the media of the two countries, including journalists exchange, seminars, forums, workshops and webinars which can enhance the knowledge of media practitioners and serve as a bridge for issues of mutual interests. You can ask for more if this is not sufficient,” he said.
The Prime Minister suggested that Malaysian and Indonesian media play a more strategic role to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.
He said the Iswami concept should be expanded to cover other Asean member countries to boost ties among journalists in the region and help to promote Malaysia as an investment and tourism destination through the publication of news reports and features. - Bernama