1. What does it mean to be a journalist or media worker in Malaysia?
Being a journalist in Malaysia is challenging, lowly paid frontline work, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 infodemic. At the same time, job security continues to be extremely precarious with media organisation closures and downsizing. There’s a critical need for journalists to be better protected legally, financially and socially in order to safely continue their work of upholding democratic processes.
2. Do you see media freedom In Malaysia moving forward?
Media freedom in Malaysia can be furthered through these measures;
1) establishing an independent media council with an official code of conduct for journalists and media organisations.
2) abolishing all archaic, repressive laws that limit media freedom and prevent the Fourth Estate from the right to report without fear or favour.
3. What can we do to be better?
Journalists and media organisations can maximise the impact of ethical and transparent journalism in an atmosphere that addresses media literacy and digital literacy, disinformation and hate speech through a strong working relationship with both government of the day and civil society.
4. What can we do to ensure media freedom?
World Press Freedom Day theme is Journalism without Fear or Favour. This can only be a lived reality for Malaysian journalists if there is commitment towards removing both censorship and self-censorship of the media through abolishing repressive laws. Targeted online and offline harassment of media, particularly female journalists, also needs to be actively and actionably addressed.
The #MYMediaMatters campaign is part of a multi-year project, Strengthening Malaysia’s Media for Change, supported by the European Union. For details please see the IFJ project page.