A news item today from Bernama, the Malaysian state-owned news agency, has me wondering why the Malaysian media must be reminded to “disseminate the truth” and “play a responsible role in serving the community”.
It seems to me that they must have been lying all this while, so much so that a Malaysian Chief Minister has to tell them to report the truth. And they must have been irresponsible in their role in serving the community, whatever that role is.
Musa Aman, Chief Minister of the east Malaysian north Borneo island state of Sabah, who was quoted by the report, certainly doesn’t know much about journalism.
According to the Bernama report, which is written in broken English, Musa seems to blame chief editors for the bad reporting because they intimidate their reporters into meeting deadlines, “chasing after the latest scoops” and competing with “increasingly popular news portals blog sites”.
Bloggers and news websites will be happy to know that the traditional media are competing with them — not the other way round. This is an official Malaysian government acknowledgement that the traditional media have lost out to blogs and online news sites which are now the mainstream media.
Apparently, Musa didn’t address the Malaysian journalists in Kota Kinabalu at the Kinabalu Shell Press Awards on Saturday evening. Bernama reported: “The text of his speech was read out by State Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Yee Moh Chai.”
But Musa turned up later to give away prizes to journalists whom he told to report the truth.
Has the Shell oil company, which sponsors the press awards, been encouraging bad Malaysian journalism all these years?