KUCHING, May 25 — Journalists have long been at the forefront of our nation’s journey to independence, wielding their pens as powerful tools against colonialism and kindling the spirit of freedom.

Minister of Communications, Fahmi Fadzil, said one of the key figures in this struggle was Tan Sri Abdul Samad Ismail, one of the founders of Utusan Melayu.

Abdul Samad was a prominent journalist who played a crucial role in the anti-colonial movement.

“Founded in 1939, Utusan Melayu served as a platform for nationalist leaders to voice their demands for independence.


“As a result, May 29 has been declared and gazetted as National Journalists’ Day (Hawana). This date was chosen to commemorate the first edition of the Utusan Melayu newspaper, published on May 29, 1939,” he said in his speech at the Hawana 2024 exhibition opening ceremony here today.

Also present were the Deputy Minister in the Sarawak Premier’s Department (Corporate Affairs, Information and UKAS), Datuk Abdullah Saidol, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) chairman Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, Bernama chief executive officer Nur-ul Afida Kamaludin and editor-in-chief, Arul Rajoo Durar Raj.

Meanwhile, Fahmi emphasised that in today’s digital era, journalists must not only excel in crafting and writing news but also need to master additional skills such as photography, videography and editing to meet the evolving demands of readers.


He said media practitioners now find themselves competing with ordinary individuals through social media in terms of the rapid dissemination of information. However, amidst this competition, they must not compromise on integrity and must ensure that the information they convey remains accurate and truthful.

“Now, it falls upon the media practitioners themselves to adapt to these changes, particularly in ensuring that they can navigate the challenges more seamlessly without compromising on integrity and the core principles of journalism,” he said.

The Hawana 2024 exhibition runs from today until May 27, showcasing captivating displays that illustrate the evolution and history of journalism in Malaysia, with a special focus on Sarawak.

A total of 17 agencies are exhibiting their services, giving visitors the opportunity to access various information and participate in the activities offered.

The agencies include the Sarawak Public Communication Unit (Ukas), TVS, Bernama, Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) Sarawak, the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) Sarawak, the Sarawak Information Department (Japen), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), the Kuching Division Journalists Association (KDJA) and Uda Holdings Berhad.

An array of exciting programmes has been arranged, featuring panel discussions, stage events and the chance to immerse oneself in the professional news reading experience at the Ukas exhibition booth.

Twenty exhibition booths are accessible from 10am to 5pm throughout the three-day event. — Bernama