Saturday, March 18, 2006

Kalimullah, have you also heard the Voice ?

Malaysian National News Agency

Businessmen Should Keep Away From The Media, Says Zainuddin
General/March 17, 2006 21:33 PM

SHAH ALAM, March 17 (Bernama) -- People with business interests should not get involved in the media field because it can erode the ethics of journalism, Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said Friday night.

This was because the ethics of journalism were based on the principles of objectivity, impartiality, truthfulness and balanced reporting, he added.

"If this was allowed, it would be seen as becoming a tool for takeovers and mergers of companies to bolster prices in the share market," he said at the Selangor media appreciation night, here.

Zainuddin said that when journalism became an important tool of businesses or corporate giants, it would be pressured to sacrifice professionalism and idealism.

He also said that another challenge faced now by the media, particularly the print media, was pop journalism that was based on sensationalism, sensitivity and globalisation.

Zainuddin said the competition to seek markets and the challenge from television had driven newspapers from the traditional layout to a form that was exuberant, cheerful, startling and, at times, disturbing.

"The appearance of the newspaper has transformed into the popular look. The role of shaping the morals and attitude of the people, which was the main agenda of the media in the past, has been compromised for competition to seek markets through pop journalism.

"This should not be a cause for concern so long as the newspapers do not breach the ethics of journalism and national policies," he said.

Zainuddin said this development was also not a cause for concern so long as journalists did not indulge in "envelope journalism" (taking of bribes) or sectarian politics or become the stooges of the economic and political interests of foreign countries.

"I understand that in the face of competition, it is very difficult for journalists, particularly the editors, to hold fast to the ideals of journalism but there are those who have endured, have not resorted to taking bribes, and do not have vested interests in the practice of journalism.

"As a result, these people maintain the respect of the community and are held in high esteem, and do not become the subjects of cheap gossip," he said.

Zainuddin said it was sad that there were journalists who were prepared to trade the nation's secrets for position and money.

He wanted institutions such as the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the National Press Club (NPC) to be the guardians of ethical, healthy and dignified journalism.

"We should not regard western liberalism as the best model for press freedom in Malaysia. We should be able to discern the threat to freedom in the guise of liberalism cloaked with globalisation, sensation and fundamental rights.

"This deceiving approach should be understood by journalists so that the Malaysian style of press freedom that has successfully moulded a strong and united people with dignity is not infringed," he said.

Zainuddin said journalists who dwelled on racial and religious sensitivities did not understand the history of nation-building, did not have the spirit of Malaysia at heart, were not patriotic and were not nationalistic.

He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had never wavered from his conviction that laws such as the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act had contributed to racial harmony and the stability and prosperity of Malaysia.

"These acts are the pillars of the nation that should no longer be disputed," he said.--




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