Communications Ministry launches Malaysian Code of Ethics for Journalists

PUTRAJAYA: The Communications Ministry has launched the Malaysian Code of Ethics for Journalists.

This is the first time the journalism ethics manual has been reviewed in 35 years after it was first developed in 1989 by the Malaysian Press Institute.

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil said the newly launched manual was an improvement over the previous in the modern era of social media.

"This review is significant, not only to keep up with the current state of media in the country, but also as a source of reference when handing out certified media cards to journalists.

"This will hopefully lead to more responsible and effective journalism that will help to nourish prosperity and harmony among the people," he said in his speech at the ethics manual launch on Tuesday (Feb 20).

Fahmi said he hoped that the guideline would not only assist media agencies carry out their duties but also promote professionalism and integrity of the media as a source of trusted news and information.

"In this era of fast internet, fake news and slander spread overwhelmingly fast.

"But through this new code, we hope to expand the media's role in fighting fake news by providing the people with the tools they need to be able to confidently verify posts and news they see on social media," he said.

The manual outlines eight fundamental ethics that underscore the responsibilities and standards expected of journalists in the country.

These include being the voice of the plural society; being transparent and with integrity; fairness in conveying information; ensuring information validity and accuracy; free from any conflict of personal interests; and protect the privacy and confidentiality of sources.

Journalists are also required to have an understanding of the laws and policies relevant to their profession and to strive to continuously improve their journalistic skills.

The Information Department, in a statement issued in conjunction with the launch of the code of ethics manual, said this would be the primary reference in its management of the media certification card (KPM) for media practitioners.

"In line with the evolution of the media industry, the code of ethics has been updated and will serve as a guide for all media card holders in carrying out their duties as they strive to build an informed society," it read.

The new manual was developed by the Ministry through the Information Department after holding four discussion sessions with key stakeholders including from among others MPI and the National Union of Journalists.

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