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More Real Journalism Needed Now Than Ever Before, Says Abang Johari

SIBU: The digital age has changed the way information is produced and received, where professionalism and the credibility of journalists are much more needed than ever, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said people these days want real-time information, and social media provides the platform for instant news � giving rise to so many ‘citizen journalists’ everywhere, who make postings every minute of the day about everything and anything.

As such, he said there was a need for more real journalism than ever before as social media had changed the world both good and bad.

Smartphones allow them to record videos or take pictures and broadcast them through social media, and many materials posted are interesting. However, few people would bother to check the authenticity of the information thus giving rise to the prevalence of ‘fake news’.

Such irresponsible act will distort the understanding of complex issues and often times cause misinformation. And more often than not, we only get one side of the story on certain issues. It is without a doubt that in this digital age, the professionalism and the credibility of journalists are more needed than ever, Abang Johari said.

His text-of-speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah when officiating at the 30th Kenyalang Journalism Awards (KJA) 2018 at RH Hotel here last night.

Abang Johari added that journalists are professionals because they are trained in their work and have certain ethical standards.

That includes verifying sources, fact-checking and explaining issues objectively, he added.

I also believe that you must be fair, balanced and well-versed in your understanding of the issues, particularly those involving government policies and programmes.

Abang Johari added that the fact that everyone wants to be fast forces the mainstream media to connect to their readers.

I know that most of the time the mainstream media struggles to stay relevant in this time. However, one thing remains unchanged � that the purpose of journalism is to provide the people with information they need to make the best possible decisions in their lives.

The digital age has changed the way people produce information and receive information, but the essence of journalism must remain unchanged.

For that reason, an event such as KJA is commendable as it prompts journalists to go the extra mile in their reporting, he added.

The Sarawak government by sponsoring KJA is not merely to show our support and give recognition to journalists for a job well done, it is part of our commitment towards helping our fellow journalists reach the highest quality of reporting possible.

Just like the government is in the service of the people, our journalists are also in the service of the people by providing information to the people about the government’s policy and happenings in the country, particularly in Sarawak.

In turn, the news that journalists provide would help the people to make their every-day decisions.

Federation of Sarawak Journalists Association (FSJA) president Jane Moh said the

event was being held in Sibu for the second time after a lapse of 15 years.

She said this year, more than 450 entries from journalists in Sarawak were received and about 80 winners brought home trophies, certificates and prize money.

She also thanked the Sarawak government and the Gold sponsors, namely Shell, Petronas, and Sarawak Energy for their continuous support toward their event.

Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, later announced a grant of RM30,000 to the FSJA committee in addition to the RM80,000 given by the Sarawak government earlier.

Shell Sarawak Bhd general manager Jill Chieng representing chairman Datuk Iain Lo, Asean Bintulu Fertiliser Sdn Bhd (subsidiary of Petronas) managing director Lukas Takip, Sarawak Energy Bhd (Corporate Service) executive vice-president Aisah Eden, KTS Group of Companies deputy managing director Temenggong Dato Vincent Lau, Pelita Towerview Sdn Bhd administrative executive Viana Gari Abdul Rahman, Bernama deputy chief editor Datuk

Mokhtar Hussain, and a representative of chief judge of the award Malia Taibi were among those present.


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