Sarawak premier moots ‘constitution-like’ code of ethics for global media industry

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, May 26 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg today suggested a definitive code of ethics for the global media industry in light of the many current challenges it faces.

Speaking at the opening of the Sarawak Media Conference 2024 held in conjunction with the National Journalists Day here, he also suggested that regulations be set up under the United Nations (UN).

“In climate change, for example, we have sustainable development goals (SDGs) and part of the SDGs I think the media industry has to operate with one global code of ethics,” he said.

He said this is to make sure that the media acts professionally, not to misuse it for other agenda.

“I am glad that Malaysia is looking towards that and I hope the global media industry under the auspices of the United Nations has certain parameters in order to have the code of ethics that is acceptable to all the users.

“Of course, you have your freedom of speech, but on the question of whether you can really democratise the issue of speech, for me there is no such thing as absolute freedom,” he said.

Abang Johari likened having a code of ethics to a nation having its own constitution.

“You cannot go out of that constitution. This also applies to the global media industry,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, the premier said that the transformation of the media is moving fast due to the change in hardware.

He said the fast transformation of communication has also brought challenges in the media industry.

“There must be a charter in our management of whatever information that we share with the society,” he said.

“I have earlier called for a code of ethics that should be made and suggested by the media industry itself,” he said.

He said the media industry must have a responsibility to ensure the prosperity of mankind.

“I think we, in Sarawak, have to keep abreast with the current transformation of the media industry.

“The Sarawak government is gathering all the input of the media industry in order for us to have a credible information and input as we move on,” he said.

About 1,000 media practitioners from Malaysia and neighbouring countries are attending the two-day Sarawak Media Conference.