The Future of Media: HAWANA 2023
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The Future of Media: HAWANA 2023

The National Journalists' Day (HAWANA) 2023 Media Forum took place on May 28, 2023, at Hotel Casuarina in Meru, Perak. With the theme of 'Media Bebas, Tunjang Demokrasi' (Free Media, Pillar of Democracy), the event drew over 100 industry players and experts, including foreign delegates. The purpose was to explore the necessary steps for traditional and conventional journalism to thrive in the digital era. YB Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil, the Minister of Communications and Digital, delivered the opening remarks, emphasising the importance of ethical journalism, the role of social media, and expressing his desire for an exciting future for the media industry. Here are some key takeaways from the media forum.

The first segment of the forum, moderated by Gerard Ratnam, Head of English Programmes at BERNAMA TV, focused on the 'Survival of Traditional Media in the Digital Era.' Panelists included M. Taufiqurrahman, Editor-in-Chief of The Jakarta Post; Mohammad Kadri Taib from the Malaysian Advertisers Association; Nicholas Sagau, Chief Operating Officer of REV Media Group; and Sheila Shanmugam, Chief Executive Officer of Mindshare Group.

Taufiq highlighted the challenges traditional media faces with the increasing dominance of social media platforms. Nicholas stressed the importance of quality content, stating that content is king, and if it is lacking, distribution will inevitably suffer. Sheila agreed, emphasising the need to attract readership to traditional media platforms. She also acknowledged that the concept of traditional media has evolved into a hybrid form, and the survival of media hinges on regulating the social phenomenon of everyone becoming a content creator. Other topics discussed included the necessity of cultural change within newsrooms, strategies for engaging with social media trends, and advertisers' decision-making processes regarding spending and ad placement.

The second part of the forum, moderated by Datuk Ahirudin Attan, President of the National Press Club of Malaysia, centered around 'Journalism in the Digital Age.' The panelists for this segment were Suhaimi Sulaiman, Director General of Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM); Alric Manickam, Country Manager at Agence France-Presse (AFP) for Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei; and Andrew Ambrose, Brand Strategist for Brandzperts. They shared insights on the survival of conventional journalism, adapting to the digital landscape, and emerging media trends.

Artificial intelligence (AI) was a key topic discussed during this segment. Suhaimi suggested that AI could assist journalists by handling tasks like reading news from teleprompters or transcribing work, enabling journalists to focus on higher-level thinking and more valuable journalistic endeavors. In contrast, Alric believed that AI could simplify journalists' work, allowing them to concentrate on delivering content that is fulfilling and resonates with their target audience. Andrew added that AI-driven journalism is already being implemented in certain countries, but journalists must exercise due diligence in understanding and embracing these tools rather than blindly relying on them.

Telum Media attended the media forum. Here is a sneak peek of the forum:
Minister of Communications and Digital, YB Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil
Minister of Communications and Digital, YB Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil
Credit photo: Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia
(From left) Moderator, Gerard Ratnam, COO of REV Media Group, Nicholas Sagau, CEO of Mindshare Group, Mohammad Kadri Taib, Senior Advisor at Malaysian Advertisers Association and M Taufiqurrahman, Editor-in-Chief of The Jakarta Post

(From left) Moderator, Gerard Ratnam; COO of REV Media Group, Nicholas Sagau; CEO of Mindshare Group, Sheila Shanmugam;
Mohammad Kadri Taib, Senior Advisor at Malaysian Advertisers Association and M. Taufiqurrahman, Editor-in-Chief of The Jakarta Post 
Credit photo: Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia
(From left) Moderator, Datuk Ahirudin Attan, Country Manager at AFP for Malaysia, Indonesia & Brunei, Alric Manickam, Director of General, RTM, Suhaimi Sulaiman, Brand Strategist at Brandzperts, Andrew Ambrose

(From left) Moderator, Datuk Ahirudin Attan; Country Manager at AFP for Malaysia, Indonesia & Brunei Alric Manickam;
Director of General, RTM, Suhaimi Sulaiman and Brand Strategist at Brandzperts, Andrew Ambrose

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Telum Media

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Journalists
Ahirudin Attan

Group Executive Editor

Suhaimi Sulaiman

Director General of Broadcasting

M. Taufiqurrahman

Editor-in-Chief

Gerard Vincent Ratnam

Executive Producer

Nicholas Sagau Tony Ngimat

Chief Operating Officer

Alric Manickam

Country Manager, Sales & Marketing, Malaysia and Brunei

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