KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — Use proper channels to voice reservations or dissatisfactions over news reports, Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) chairman and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Chamil Wariya said.
He said every individual has the right of reply to points and arguments raised in media reports, but to threaten journalists responsible for those reports is wrong.
“Threats against journalists should not be happening as they are only carrying out their duties. Those affected by these reports do have a right of reply.
“They can call the media organisation or the journalist concerned to counter-argue what was reported about them. That is how it is done in a civilised society,” he told Bernama when contacted today.
Chamil acknowledged the fact that people who are easily overcome by emotions can lead to such situations.
“In this troubled world, those who are highly strung and emotional are capable of resorting to drastic actions such as threats, even physical ones,” he said.
Recently, a death threat via e-mail was made against a journalist of Malay daily, Berita Harian, over a report published in the newspaper last week.
Yesterday, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, during his visit to the New Straits Times Press (NSTP), said the ministry was ready to meet media agencies to establish a standard operating procedure to ensure the safety of the media workforce.
Meanwhile, Chamil also advised journalists to abide by the fundamental principles of ethical journalism when carrying out their duties.
“As journalists, we report the truth, and not based on rumours and gossips. So the first SOP is to return to the basic principle of reporting which is to report the truth verified by multiple sources. If this (step) is followed, there is nothing for the journalist to be worried about. However, should there be threats received, then the most logical thing to do is to lodge a police report.
“Journalism is truly a challenging field. It's like setting up house on the beach, and we have to be cautious (from the danger) all the time. We will feel afraid once we are threatened, but do not let that fear take control or it will kill your career, as what we do is for the benefit of the public,” he said.
Meanwhile, Datuk A Kadir Jasin, the special advisor on media and communications to the prime minister, said journalists must never bow down to threats when they are pursuing exposés on wrongdoings that clearly violated rules and laws.
“It is increasingly becoming clear that the current active state of the media and the influential role of the social media have made those with wrong intentions feel threatened, to the extent that they are willing to resort to threats,” the veteran journalist said.
He also echoed Chamil's view by stressing that media practitioners must ensure the principle of a right of reply was respected at all times when it comes to news reporting. — Bernama