MIRI (May 29): Journalists in Sarawak deserve recognition for helping shape the people’s mind set by reporting true and accurate news as a source of community referrals, said Deputy Premier of Sarawak Professor Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
In his text-of–speech read by Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin at a dinner to mark National Journalists Day (Hawana) Friday hosted by Northern Sarawak Journalists Association (NSJA) at a local hotel, Dr Sim stated that the way information is produced and received has changed in this digital era.
“We want news posted in print and electronic media as well as social media to be accurate. However, digitalisation has provided social media platforms for ‘journalists’ everywhere to post news every minute with many not checking the authenticity of information received thereby generating a lot of fake news,” he stated.
In view of the importance of mainstream media, every organisation and agency should support and appreciate mainstream media practitioners and form mutually beneficial collaboration, he added.
Meanwhile, NSJA president Andy Jong said the Hawana dinner was an opportunity for journalists and representatives of government agencies to strengthen relationships.
“Since 2018, Hawana has been officially celebrated on May 29 every year to commemorate and appreciate journalists in Malaysia.
“Such recognition means a lot to us journalists, who worked at the frontline during the height of Covid-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, about 25 per cent out of 90 NSJA members have tested positive for Covid-19 with the majority infected during work,” informed Jong, adding that reporting on Covid-19 and its safety protocols had helped educate the public, improved awareness and compliance.
Jong who is also president of Federation of Sarawak Journalists Association (FSJA) revealed that Miri will host this year’s Kenyalang Journalists Award (KJA) with an estimated budget of RM400,000 for expenses and cash prizes.
“This prestigious award ceremony receives yearly support of RM100,000 from the Sarawak government and RM50,000 each from Shell, Petronas and Sarawak Energy Berhad. We would work on looking for more sponsors to cover expenses,” he explained.
Also present at the dinner were Deputy Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts (I) Datuk Sebastian Ting, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, Pujut assemblyman Mayor Adam Yii, Miri MP Dr Michael Teo, as well as representatives of government agencies and sponsors.