IPOH, May 28 — Newspapers will continue to play an important role in disseminating information and can survive if they maintain their standards and integrity, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. 

The prime minister said although social media has somewhat taken over the role of physical newspapers, he believed that newspapers have a higher role and are more relevant than social media.

“I represent the old school. It is a must for me to read newspapers every day, apart from following a bit of developments on social media,” he said when launching the National Journalists’ Day (HAWANA) 2023 celebration here today.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil and Fahmi’s deputy, Teo Nie Ching. 

Also in attendance were Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad and Perak Communications, Multimedia and NGO Committee chairman Mohd Azlan Helmi.

About 1,000 media practitioners gathered at the event, themed “Media Bebas Tunjang Demokrasi” (Free Media, Pillar of Democracy), held to honour the role of the media.

Anwar said the duty of a journalist was not merely to record ideas but also to spark ideas based on values.

“When we talk about this country being MADANI and democratic, it means we want to instil values, not narrow thinking which can weaken and extinguish the people’s spirit or divide them.

“So, the development of values and MADANI is important. This (MADANI) is special and unique because it emphasises values and morals that underline thinking, development, media freedom and others. So, I would urge our media friends to disseminate information based on knowledge and values,” he added.

Anwar stressed that the Malaysian media needs to remain totally free from any form of influence and pressure but should avoid publishing reports that can create racial and religious enmity.

At the ceremony, the prime minister also announced a starting allocation of RM1 million for Tabung Kasih@HAWANA, which was established in conjunction with HAWANA 2023 to reach out to media practitioners, former media personnel and veteran journalists who need help.

Tabung Kasih@HAWANA was an initiative of the Communications and Digital Ministry and was implemented through the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) as part of continuing efforts to help the media community who are grappling with the challenges of life.

Anwar also presented contributions from the fund to three veteran journalists in Perak, namely former freelance reporter Ou So Ha @ Ou Kok Meng, 74; Tamil Malar newspaper stringer V. Maniam, 76; and news portal editor Haron Shafei, 65.

Earlier, Haslinda Ahmad, the widow of former TV3 Perak cameraman the late Rosli Abu Bakar, also received a similar contribution under the same initiative.


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