State Government acknowledges Media role; contribution to Kinabalu Press Award increased to RM100,000

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government has increased its annual contribution to the Kinabalu Press Awards from RM60,000 to RM100,000 as it acknowledges the important role of the media in the development of the state.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor said the State Government has always recognised the mainstream media as one of its important partners in helping to disseminate government policies and development in the state.
“You are the bridge between the government and the rakyat hence it is very important that through your works, factual information is shared with the masses.
“This is more so at this time where social media platforms have been misused or abused to spread fake news and many untruths and half-truths,” he said at the Kinabalu Press Awards organised by Sabah Journalists Association (SJA) in collaboration with the State Government, Shell Malaysia and Petronas at the Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa near here, Friday.
The Chief Minister said good journalism plays an important role in society and that journalists were able to influence the thinking of the people through reporting and even changed the political landscape of a country.
“In this regard, journalists need to report wisely. I am happy the media in Sabah have carried out their duties with pride and honour. Most importantly, they have provided news coverage responsibly and professionally.
“The Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya is our commitment to developing the State and for the good of the rakyat. We hope the Media will continue its role to report on the government’s development agenda,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hajiji said the state government was concerned with the closure of media outlets such as Sabah’s oldest newspaper, New Sabah Times and the retrenchment of media personnel as cost-cutting measures.
“I am also fully aware that the mainstream media especially the print media is continuing to struggle in the face of dwindling circulation and advertising revenue due to the challenges already posed by social media and aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am told more than 70 media personnel in Sabah have lost their jobs or faced pay cuts this year alone.
“I urge media companies (in Sabah) to retain their employees while re-looking at the media business models as what is being done by media houses across the world. I believe it is still a lucrative business and it is a matter of packaging your contents to draw your readers and advertisers,” he said.
Attending the Kinabalu Press Award for the first time since his appointment as Chief Minister, Hajiji said the past two years have been challenging for all due to the battle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We all have had our fair share of difficulties to carry on with life and our work and all of us have made sacrifices along the way. The Movement Control Orders and subsequent restrictions have somewhat clipped our wings but through all these challenges, there have been lessons learned that have forced us to do things differently, to live in the new normal but most of all it has taught us resilience and to soldier on.
“We are not out of the woods yet but I believe it is also time that we must hit the ground and get to work. My Government has taken various measures to cushion the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to re-stimulate the growth of our economy.
“We are confident that the implementation of the National Recovery Plan and various stimulus packages by the Federal and State Governments will spur efforts in Sabah’s economic recovery,” he said.
On another note, Hajiji was glad to note that Shell Malaysia and Petronas have continued to lend support to the SJA, particularly in the organising of the Kinabalu Press Awards.
“With the commitment of the State Government and strategic partners Petronas and Shell Malaysia, I am confident that the SJA will be able to continue hosting this prestigious event in pursuit of journalism excellence.
Later, the Chief Minister accompanied by SJA President Datuk Muguntan Vanar presented the prizes to winners of this year’s Kinabalu Press Award.


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