Thursday, May 28

Suhakam to develop media code of ethics on rights issues

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Chairman of Asean Intergovernmental Commission On Human Rights  Phuokhong Sisoulath (front, fourth right) having a group photo with all speakers of AICHR Regional Forum On Media and Human Rights In Asean. Rodziah is third from left.— Bernama photo

Chairman of Asean Intergovernmental Commission On Human Rights Phuokhong Sisoulath (front, fourth right) having a group photo with all speakers of AICHR Regional Forum On Media and Human Rights In Asean. Rodziah is third from left.— Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), together with a group of experienced media professionals, are in the midst of developing a code of ethics to guide media practitioners on human rights issues.

Its secretary, Rodziah Abdul said a document related to the code of ethics was presented to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan.

“We hope the relevant ministries will adopt or build on this code of ethics with the objective of promoting media reporting that provides the public with full, fair and accurate information, and follows a certain standard of conduct in the process.

“Adherence to a certain code of ethics is paramount in ensuring professionalism in media reporting,” she said after attending the Regional Forum on Media and Human Rights in Asean here yesterday.

The forum, jointly organised by the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and foreign ministry, with the support of communications and multimedia ministry, Suhakam, Regional EU-Asean Dialogue Instrument and Human Rights Facility.

Rodziah also noted that media coverage on matters pertaining to human rights was still rather limited in Malaysia.

She said the content of statements issued by Suhakam were also sometimes, not adequately reflected by media outlets.

Rodziah explained one of the factors for the lack of coverage on human rights issues was the limited knowledge and understanding of human rights among media practitioners in this country.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Representative to AICHR, Edmund Bon Tai Soon asked media practitioners to take a stand against the discrimination of vulnerable and marginalised groups as stressed in Article four of the Asean Human Rights Declaration 2012.

“Article four reads, the rights of women, children, elderly, persons with disabilities, migrant workers and vulnerable and marginalised groups are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of human rights and fundamental freedom,” he said.

He stressed good reporting could facilitate the special protection marginalised groups deserved while bad reporting might instead, lead these groups to being negatively perceived.

On the forum, Bon said the Regional Forum aimed to provide the media with a panoramic understanding and exposure on professionalism and ethics in reporting, as well as on the regional (Asean) and international human rights instruments in relation to the work of media practitioners.

About 100 participants from Asean member countries are taking part in the two-day forum which started today, including AICHR representatives, related government agencies of Asean Member States, media practitioners, academicians and human rights experts, who share their thoughts and expertise on the development of human rights mechanisms and issues in Asean. — Bernama