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Editors agree to blackout extremist views

April 18, 2015

More emphasis on balance, and educating Malaysians on moderation, they say at forum with Saifuddin Abdullah.

saifuddin moderates

PETALING JAYA: A few media editors today have come to an agreement that news reporting should place more emphasise on “balance in distributing information”.

They said every journalist and editor had the responsibility to educate Malaysians on the importance of practising moderation in daily matters, including the need to stop publicising the views of extremists.

Wong Chun Wai, chief executive officer of The Star said: “We felt the emergence of these extreme voices and most of us are quite disturbed on how the country was shaping based on the opinions of these people. Doesn’t matter what religion you are, which country you are from, there is a commonality that runs across the difference including the concept of tolerance, forgiveness, anti-corruption, fairness, that should be promoted through news reporting.

He was among senior journalists attending a roundtable discussion on the theme Expressing Moderation, conducted by the Global Moderation Movement on Friday.

The discussion was also attended by senior journalists and editors, among them Steven Gan of MalaysiaKini, Sharaad Kutan of BFM radio, Terence Fernandez of The Edge Daily, and Kamarul Bahrin Haron of Astro Awani.

The forum was moderated by Global Moderates chief executive Saifuddin Abdullah, a former deputy education minister.

Asean editors invited to the forum were Supalak Ganjanakhundee, regional news editor of The Nation, Bangkok; Primastuti Handayani, managing editor of Jakarta Post; Fe B. Zamora, senior journalist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Kavi Chongkittavorn, senior fellow of the Institute of Security and International Studies also took part.

Saifuddin said the concept of moderation must be translated into action, through well-discoursed policies and strategies.

Otherwise, he warned, extremists would take over the concept, and have it defined or misappropriated based on their perspectives, which could lead the nation into a more dangerous situation.

Terence Fernandez replied that Malaysia had historically-proven that it could set the standard of ‘moderation’ among the Asean countries based on its diversified communities which had been living together for years.

“In Asean, we are the ones who define moderation by our population, ethnic makeup…we Malaysians set the whole standard and it is only right if it comes back to us,” he said.

Sharaad meanwhile, expressed his concerns on how a few media outlets in the country had allowed a group of extremists to appear publicly, giving them more publicity.

He, as other editors agreed that the media have power and influence to combat extremism.



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