KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — The government has been urged to consider reviewing or abolishing obsolete laws which are no longer relevant such as the Sedition Action 1948 so that news reporting and publication of newspapers is fairer and of better quality.
Veteran journalist Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar said it would be in line with various challenges facing the journalism industry now which requires the support of all parties including the government to be in the same field to create a new platform and ecosystem for the industry so that its future viability is assured.
“I think between 2016 and 2018, not less than 5,000 media personnel lost their jobs. So this has triggered the question on the form of industry in future and as such, I think for its sustainability and future, the key issue is for the industry to create a new ecosystem,” he said
He said in an interview with the media in conjunction with the 2022 National Journalists Day (Hawana) at his residence today.
He said the ecosystem could be achieved via various approaches among them the reduction of tax on imported newsprint used by newspaper companies.
Johan said the move is important as journalism has become a sunset industry with the advent of social media and several other challenges since 2016.
He said in line with the journalism landscape which has changed drastically since the arrival of the internet and social media, there is also a need to review the curriculum of journalism learning offered by higher institutions of learning.
“It means we can no longer teach journalism students in the contexts of the industry of the past. It should be relevant to today’s situation including an emphasis on ‘backpack journalism’.
This concept requires every journalist to be involved in the entire process of reporting and publishing news using an app on their smartphone. If in the past, television stations required a long process to report and publish news, it can now be done with a phone application! ” he said.
On 2022 Hawana which will take place in Melaka on Sunday, he said it was a form of national recognition to journalists who have always dedicated themselves as frontliners in news reporting when the country faced various crises including the Covid-19 pandemic.
He hoped that the organisation of the programme would result in the government’s commitment in providing effective space and freedom to the media in an effort to be part of the best ‘check and balance’ system for the country’s democratic system.