If journalists spoke crocodile: Deputy minister highlights media’s vital role, contribution to nation

Abdullah (in red shirt) together with Fahmi (front) in a wefie with journalists from various media organisations in Sarawak after the launching of 2024 Hawana Exhibition at Plaza Merdeka on May 25, 2024.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 25: If a journalist could understand the language of animals, they might even interview a crocodile to get its opinion about humans.

This playful notion was used by the Deputy Minister in the Premier of Sarawak’s Department (Corporate Affairs and Ukas), Datuk Abdullah Saidol, to highlight the vital roles and contributions of media practitioners.


He noted that these roles, spanning traditional and digital media, require passion, instinct, and professionalism as journalists not only inform the public but also shape the civilisation and modernity of a nation and its society.

“The evolution and maturity of a society’s thinking about nationhood, cultural understanding, infrastructure, and socio-economic development are greatly influenced by the work of journalists.

“They face numerous challenges and make sacrifices, enduring all kinds of weather and travel difficulties to bring news and stories to the community, but these are often not talked about.

“Journalists’ reports and writings provide food for thought, enhancing our understanding of various life stories, knowledge, and human values. The media also plays a crucial role in bridging the understanding gap between the government and society,” he said when addressing the launching of the 2024 National Journalists’ Day (Hawana) Exhibition at Plaza Merdeka here today.

Media practitioners from Malaysia gathering at Plaza Merdeka for 2024 Hawana Exhibition at Plaza Merdeka on May 25, 2024.

Abdullah thus emphasised that the Hawana celebration is as significant as Teachers’ Day, Labour Day, and Warriors’ Day to recognise, honour, and appreciate the contributions and sacrifices of the media fraternity throughout Sarawak and Malaysia.

“This celebration is also an opportunity for the community to get to know the individuals behind the scenes—photographers, editors, graphic designers, newscasters, broadcasters, and even newspaper sellers—and share their experiences.

“Journalists engage with all segments of society, from influential political leaders and successful corporate members to ordinary employees, urban and rural inhabitants, people facing hardships, patients in hospitals, and prisoners,” he said.

Kuching Division Journalists Association (KDJA) president Ronnie Teo (left) presenting a souvenir to Fahmi, while Wong (second left) and Abdullah (right) look on at the 2024 Hawana Exhibition at Plaza Merdeka on May 25, 2024.

Abdullah acknowledged that evolving technology and the digital world present new challenges to the media.

Despite the conveniences provided by modern telecommunication gadgets, he noted that journalists face competition from netizen reporters who often share unverified and half-baked stories, which could sometimes be far from the truth.

“As such, it is the responsibility of the journalists to bring factual and verified news, aligning with this year’s Hawana’s theme ‘Core ethics of sustainable journalism’,” he said.

Federal Minister of Communication Fahmi Fadzil graced the event, which was also attended by Deputy Sarawak Secretary (Operation) Datu Hii Chang Kee, Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai and Bernama chief executive officer Nur-ul Afida Kamaludin. — DayakDaily