KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Journalists Association president Datuk Muguntan Vanar hoped that 2022 and the Year of Tiger would bring a breath of fresh air to the media industry.
He said the year 2020 and 2021 had been very challenging for many in the media.
“Many jobs were lost through retrenchments, pay cuts and the saddest of all was the closure of New Sabah Times.
“All this has been very painful for many directly affected.I guess I don’t need to tell you all what we the media had to go through as many of us were directly or indirectly affected.
“I hope 2022 and the Year of Tiger brings a breath of fresh air to the media industry – the fourth estate- which is an important source of balance, accurate and fair news for our readers and viewers,” he said.
Muguntan said this in his opening remarks at the Sabah Journalists Association, Bi-Annual Meeting, here today.
He stressed that media practitioners are duty bound to give their best for readers who need more than what they see in social media.
“While social media plays complimentary role in some cases, it is for us to provide a more balanced report without prejudice.
“It is tough, no doubt, but we must always strive for it as much as we can. Today we get, many news/ statements directly sent to us via social media platforms like WhatsApp.
“As journalists it would always be good look at the stories beyond those statements or releases. Covid-19 restrictions had made it difficult for us to move around over the last two years, perhaps now we can move back to the ground and get those stories that tell more of what’s happening,” he said.
He said aftee a year of bad news among the media, it is refreshing to see that at least one Sabah newspaper Asia Times took a brave move to broaden its readership reach by expanding their Chinese daily to include English and Bahasa Malaysia and some Kadazan.
“Many have different views on its viability. I personally believe it is a positive step forward for the mainstreamed media.
“It is definitely good news for us in the media as we start of the New Year,” he added.
Muguntan said in line with the SJA constitution, the committee felt that it was necessary to keep all our full time stringers who are registered with Penerangan as ordinary members and they could also serve the committee.
“Many of these full time stringers are working round the clock for major news outlets in Sabah and peninsula.
“There is nothing in our constitution to say that they cannot vote or hold positions in the committee. They will, however, be subject to vetting by the committee before being made ordinary members.
“As for RTM and Penerangan only those – editors, reporters and cameramen – in their respective newsrooms will remain ordinary members. Those who have been transferred out of their respective newsrooms to other sections within Penerangan and RTM will become honorary members,” he said.