Musa: Media reports must be accurate, balanced
The media must remember its role in disseminating not only accurate but balanced reports to the public, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said. This is especially relevant now in this information as where access to information has never been easier, Musa said at the Kinabalu Shell Press awards ceremony here last night. A discerning society, he said, would no longer just accept what is being brought to them but would look for intelligent reports that go beyond mere reporting. “In short, readers are increasingly looking for substance in news,” Musa said adding that journalists must now go beyond storytelling and do it so with a purpose. “You must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant. Journalists must continually ask what information has most value to citizens and in what form,” he stressed. Journalists by virtue of their profession must ensure that objective reporting, moral values, higher professional standards and respect for differences of opinion become the standard bearer of their code of ethics. This in turn, Musa pointed out, stimulates the intellectual diversity necessary to understand and accurately cover an increasingly diverse society. “It is important to keep news in proportion and not leave things out. Journalism is also not about inflating events for sensation, stereotyping in order to capture your audience or to sell that extra copy,” he said. Good journalism, according to Musa, entails going for the truth and disseminating and sharing this with the audience. Musa also commended the media in Sabah for doing a very good job in bringing significant and important news to society especially in areas that matter such as in profiling the State Government’s development agenda, namely the Halatuju and the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) as well as plans and programmes for the State under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. “Having said that, I also understand that it is part and parcel of journalism to point out inefficiencies, bureaucracy and other shortcomings that occur in the public sector. “Nonetheless, it is equally important for you to fulfill this task in an impartial, balanced and sincere manner with the end objective of achieving something positive,” he said. Musa expressed hope that the media would continue to highlight Government projects add programmes that have benefited the people of Sabah in particular and the country in general. “I know there is the general perception that bad news or sensationalism sells like hot cakes. It is rather unfortunate that some revel in the misfortunes that befall others. Nonetheless, I trust the media in Sabah will continue to uphold the strong fundamentals of journalism, which is accurate and fair reporting. Touching on the Sabah Journalists Association’s application to have its own building to carry out activities, Musa said the State Government has approved the application.