Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Shabery reiterates new media-friendly stance ...

Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek reinforces his new media-friendly approach, saying the government and civil servants must be ready to adapt them whether they like it or not.
"Business cannot be as usual for us, and our best defence against the new media is to continue to be clean, honest and efficient in our public delivery system.
"In this battle for credibility in the new media, and between the new media and the mainstream media, we as part of the establishment will be their punching bags.
“But we cannot fear them,” he said in his paper titled "The New Media: Articulating the Right Values" tabled at the Civil Service Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Shabery said: "They will not be influential or powerful if we are clean, honest, credible, trustworthy and efficient in our administration and public service delivery."
"If we do not have anything to hide, if we do not abuse our power or office, these new media per se, will not have such an impact for they would be deprived of any ammunition against us," he said.
"Most of us make the mistake of defining the new media as anti-government and anti-establishment when in fact there were bloggers and online news sites that subscribe to the government's policies and programmes,” he stated.
Media-savvy Shabery contended that if the bloggers and online news sites were critical, they were critical of the way some policies and programmes were implemented.
"In other words, there are myths and fallacies about bloggers and opponents of the government, which can be easily debunked when communication is open and free," he said.
For example, RTM's live telecast of Parliament sitting had shown the people the actual proceedings and allowed them to make judgment on the performances of their parliamentary representatives, he said.
Shabery also urged the mainstream media not "to compete head on with the new media", which rely on the mainstream media for news and information.
He said citizen journalists acted as a watchdog to the mainstream media by analysing, observing and interpreting materials published by the mainstream media, highlighting their inaccuracies, spins and outright lies.
Saying that citizen journalists complemented the mainstream media, he believed that "this augurs well for the democratisation of information."
He observed that there were times when professional journalists in the mainstream media were taken to task by citizen journalists for sloppy reporting and misleading editorials.
"This is a value that should be duly recognised and applauded by all of us, politicians, administrators and lawmakers alike. This will allow for feedback mechanism of any new policy, plan or programme," he said.
He said it could also act as an early warning system to detect any wrongdoings by any quarters within the democratic structure of the country.
Shabery felt the country did not need new laws to curb the new media as the present ones were adequate.
However, he said, the defamation and sedition laws, which aimed to protect the rights of citizens against malice, should also apply to the new media, especially in the case of blogs.
"Over time, users of online information will know where to place them in their hierarchies of trust, and over time, the same would be expected of blogs that want to be known as credible and trustworthy," he said.

The minister has a website NotaShabery.com , featuring his speeches, comments and opinion on current issues. The website aims to create a forum where readers are free to comment and give their points of view.

No comments: