Telum vox pop: What does freedom of the press mean to Malaysian media practitioners?

Telum vox pop: What does freedom of the press mean to Malaysian media practitioners?

In conjunction with World Press Freedom Day this year, Telum Media spoke with five Malaysian media practitioners to get their thoughts on the challenges journalists face in reporting and insights on how to promote the value of journalism for the public good.

Ronnie Teo, Business Editor at The Borneo Post and Chairman of Kuching Division Journalists Association 2021 / 2023
The main challenge faced by journalists today is misinformation as we work against ‘keyboard warriors’ who share unverified information that could be completely false. This is definitely a major issue across all platforms, even more so on social media where news can be shared rashly, and is very toxic to the occupation. It is crucial for the public to check their news sources as well as the validity of that source before sharing. Mainstream media plays an important role in society’s balance and check system as we strive to do our best in bringing the truth to readers. This can be done in twofold: For the mainstream media to continue upholding their values in publishing the truth, for the public to have faith and show their support for these mainstream media. We always encourage the public to step up and be open to speaking their minds and be the voices for change, to keep on persevering in seeking the truth and bringing it to light.

                                                                                          
Ronnie Teo, Business Editor at The Borneo Post and Chairman of Kuching Division Journalists Association 2021 / 2023

Zurairi A.R, Assistant News Editor at Malay Mail and East Asian Representative of International Association of Religion Journalists
An unhealthy and deteriorating job market has been exacerbated by the pandemic which causes many to face pay cuts and retrenchment. If this is left unaddressed it will result in a bigger talent flight into adjacent industries such as public relations and marketing. The road to financial sustainability is a long one for the local industry as a whole. However, news subscriptions are one way for readers and the public to help ensure the livelihoods of practitioners in addition to financial support, to help protect media freedom. The media must be steadfast in keeping our eyes on the ground, in order to provide a platform for the public to tell their stories and be a bulwark in keeping the authorities and status quo in check.

                                                                                           
Zurairi A.R, Assistant News Editor at Malay Mail and East Asian Representative of International Association of Religion Journalists

Melisa Idris, Anchor & Senior Editor & Assistant Vice President at Astro AWANI
A lack of public trust in news media and accountability in political culture in Malaysia is one of the challenges in today’s journalism. Elected representatives and policymakers do not have to address or engage the media and are able to stonewall selected media. This in turn has impacted newsrooms to become lean, stretched, and run on thin resources working through the global pandemic. We need to ensure more diversity in decision-making positions in the newsroom - gender, age, ethnicity, social class, cultural background, and more. At large, newsrooms leadership is increasingly becoming more homogenous and there is an urgent need for us to address this.

                                                                                             
Melisa Idris, Anchor & Senior Editor & Assistant Vice President at Astro AWANI

Ushar Daniele, Freelance Producer, Journalist and Fixer
In this day and time, forcing restrictions onto press members conducting their duty can be detrimental to the freedom of the press. Live or real-time information cannot be verified when authorities in charge are restricting access thus indirectly causing possible delays in reporting events factually. We need to ensure those elected are independent and have zero tolerance for any influence that may or may not exist. The media needs to continuously pursue the truth and report without fear and boundaries. A reporter's duty is to keep the public informed and by doing so, checks and balances are in place. 
                                                                                               
Ushar Daniele, Freelance Producer, Journalist and Fixer

Priscilla Tawie, Feature Writer at New Sarawak Tribune
Having to cover stories and deliver them to the public, has become the ultimate challenge to many in the media fraternity. Even today, with cases still at their worse in Sarawak, Malaysia, journalists continue to ensure the public receives the news they deserve. Giving leeway to certain meetings and learning to do things digitally is viable during the current situation. Many have adopted technology in their daily lives to minimise exposure. As a media practitioner, while it is always important to convey news to the public, it should be done with thought for the public. True that there is such a thing call freedom of speech, but no matter what, there are also limits to how much we can share. This is the heavy responsibility that most journalists have to carry, to write with caution. 

                                                                                                  
Priscilla Tawie, Feature Writer at New Sarawak Tribune

More stories


Telum media database

  • Melisa Melina Idris
  • Ronnie Teo
  • Zurairi Abd Rahman
  • Ushar Prakash Kaur Daniele
  • Priscilla Tawie
  • Telum Media
    11 contacts
    38 media requests

Get in touch to hear more

Request Demo

Regular email alerts featuring the latest news and moves from the media industry across Asia Pacific

Enjoy exclusive daily interviews with senior journalists and PRs as well as in-house editorial and features from the Telum team

Subscribe for alerts