Journalism must be reconstituted: Zahid

BANDUNG: Journalism as a profession must be reconstituted as a form of self-regulation, said Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pix) today.

He said there was a need to redefine the journalists and media writers so that the question like who could be a journalist should be seriously addressed.

"If now everyone can write and has the facility to create credibility, authority and truth, the journalistic profession must oblige itself to deliberate on truth and its manifestations.

"Not everyone can be a journalist, but of course, detractors will say that such a move will only curb press freedom," he said when delivering a keynote address at the International Conference on Media for World Harmony in conjunction with the fifth Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Broadcasting Regulatory Authorities Forum (Ibraf) here.

Ibraf is a forum which endeavours to meet the need for increasing cooperation among Islamic countries broadcasting regulatory authorities against the backdrop of digitalisation and convergence.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said that journalists and media practitioners must be the selected ones and they must come from category of the best, brightest, ethical, unprejudiced and tolerant.

"Media and its practitioners should play a stronger and more confident role in subjugating itself toward peace building," he said.

He said that there was a worrying shift on journalistic narrative when extremism consumed its own image.

"Extremism and ethnic stereotyping now make most of journalistic narrative and make the news. Journalism and journalist becoming its actors, more so in the theatre of the new media," he said.

He said the media must be the intelligence dimension for global peace and harmony by facilitating a multicultural and a multi civilisational dialogue, educate people and stir cultural and civilisational thinking.

"We do not need only dominant worldview. All worldviews perpetuated and projected by the media must be seen in equitable terms. Media and world harmony are not premised on a monolithic worldview but alternative and pluralistic views
must characterise this enterprise," he added.

Ahmad Zahid said that the challenges for media for world harmony is tremendous such as ideological, government repressions, national legislative and constitutional provisions or lack of it, cuts in commercial revenues and the tyranny of technology.

He said that the media and world harmony are not only the story of states and government but the story of humanity and civilisations and their interactions to modern and contemporary life.

"The role of religion and spirituality in the media with the dialogue of civilisations is critical and we cannot leave out religion when speaking of media and world harmony. Without religion, there would not be world harmony and without media as agent, there would not be meaningful participant among us," he said.

More than 200 participants attended the two-day Ibraf's forum and meeting held in Kota Bandung beginning today. — Bernama