Star Media Group takes home three gold and one silver at MPI Awards

KUALA LUMPUR: The Star Media Group (SMG) has topped the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI)-PETRONAS Malaysian Journalism Awards (HKM) 2023, held on Friday (June 7).

The annual journalism award night at the Majestic Hotel saw nominations from the country's media publications, television, radio, and online platforms.

Among the winners from SMG's publication, The Star, was Hassan Bahri, who won the Best Frontpage Design award for the Star Biz page Ringgit in a Corner and took home a RM10,000 cash prize.

Journalists Bavani Mahalingam and Shalini Ravindran won first place and a RM10,000 cash prize in the Best Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) category for their Retention Pond Series.

The first place in the Best News Report category went to journalists Fazleena Abd Aziz and Siti Fatimah Zainal for their reports Push for Independent Children's Body, See Child Abuse, Cry for Help, Not Enough for Kids at Risk, Whole-of-Community Approach, Giving Social Work Due Recognition, Harder for Male Victims to Open Up, Protecting the Most Vulnerable Among Us, Sexually Abused in a Cycle of Guilt, Aftermath of Sexual Abuse, Be the Voice of the Child and Shackled in Fight of Sex Scourge. They also took home an RM10,000 cash prize and a trophy.

The Star's Colours of Malaysia series received second place in the Best Multimedia Journalism category, earning the team an RM3,000 cash prize and a certificate.

The team which won the prize comprised of Sharon Ling, Zulazhar Sheblee, Leanne Hong Li Ying, Shaniza Shafie, Dorairaj Nadason, Sim Leoi Leoi, Darishini Priyaa Devadas, Chow How Ban, Zulhaimi Baharuddin, Farid Wahab, Muhamad Shahril Rosli, Patrick Chin Priyatharsini Ramasamy, Ahmad Firdaus Hamid, Carl Lew, Arnold Loh, Lo Tern Chern, Lim Beng Tatt, Sheela Chandran, Ahmad Izzrafiq Alias, SS Kanesan and Ahmad Syukry Mohd Kassim.

Also present were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

During his speech, Anwar assured that press freedom in the country would not be compromised and that no action has been taken or control exerted over the freedom of journalists and media to express views, criticism, and commentary.

"I assure you that the spirit of media freedom remains intact, even though there might be some anxiety due to our firm approach in dealing with issues related to security, extreme patriotism (chauvinism), racism, or religious extremism.

"(But) it is not about offending issues of race or royalty but about using those issues to cause division and chaos in the country," he said.

MPI president Datuk Yong Soo Heong said that 2023 received the highest number of applications since the award was introduced in 1980.

"The number of applications increased by 21% to 488 for 23 categories compared to the previous year," he said.

SMG chief content officer Datin Paduka Esther Ng said The Star will continue to provide and present stories for the public.

"I'm so proud of our team. They have been recognised for their dedication and passion to get to the bottom of the story, and this is their night.

"The Star will continue giving our best and will not forget that we are the people's media," she said when met at the event.

Fazleena Abd Aziz said the win is dedicated to all the voiceless children in the country.

"Our stories highlighted their plight, and we will continue to be their voice.

"We feel honoured to win this award, and we would like to extend our gratitude to our editors, sub-editors, copy clearer and artist for all their support," she said.

Another gold winner of the night, Bavani Mahalingam, said it was an honour to receive this award for the flood retention pond series.

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