Ethics the shining pillar of journalism, says Fahmi


KUCHING: Ethics is the shining pillar in the field of journalism because adherence to them not only makes one a good journalist but also ensures the sustainability of a media organisation, said Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

Fahmi said that the media industry today is facing significant challenges due to the emergence of various new media, which has changed people's reading patterns, thus reporting based on ethics is crucial to remain a preferred choice.

"Our audiences have become fragmented and have changed. Trends among young people now, for example, whether they like to watch television, read newspapers, or read news portals, or watch Facebook reels or TikTok.

"These changes put pressure on us. Some view this pressure positively, while others believe that if not managed well, these changes can be very negative," he said in a special interview in conjunction with National Journalists' Day (Hawana) 2024 here last night.

Fahmi emphasised that any content posted by social media influencers or netizens on various platforms is different from the reports produced by media entities that adhere to journalism ethics as their main foundation.

"We know that to become a journalist, you need to be trained. Not everybody is cut out to be a reporter. Just because you can write, take pictures, or record a situation does not necessarily make you a journalist.

"But what makes someone a good journalist? To me, this ability shines through when we emphasise ethical issues. That’s why, while we figure out the business model and where the audience is, the primary pillar of the journalism discipline, as many believe, is ethics," he said.

Touching on media freedom in Malaysia, Fahmi said that generally, the situation in the country is very good, with no incidents of violence against media practitioners, and there are no censorship or obstacles in reporting issues.

"Our challenge is not media freedom but, in an era where people worldwide can be said to have freedom of speech because of social media, is how we do not fall into the trap of clickbait, where sometimes the headline in a post can be very different from the content," he said.

Therefore, Fahmi stressed that what is more important beyond media freedom is how to ensure that every report produced is understandable and convincing to the readers, so they are not solely influenced by social media content.

Regarding security threats to media practitioners, Fahmi said there is no compromise on this issue, and anyone facing any problems related to it is free to file a police report.

Hawana 2024, themed "Etika Teras Kewartawanan Mapan" is being held here for three days starting today, culminating in an event officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Monday (May 27).

More than 1,000 media practitioners, including from Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, the Philippines, Timor Leste, Kuwait, Qatar, Japan, China, and South Korea are attending Hawana 2024. - Bernama

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