Pusat Media

Fahmi launches journo code of ethics, warns against fake news

20 Feb 2024, Free Malaysia Today (FMT)

PUTRAJAYA: Communications minister Fahmi Fadzil launched the latest code of ethics for journalists today, replacing the previous iteration introduced 35 years ago.

The new code comprises eight key ethics, including that journalists must be responsible, transparent, fair in disseminating information, not influenced by personal interests, deliver legitimate information, respect the privacy and confidentiality of their sources, understand the laws governing the media, and prioritise their journalistic skills.

Fahmi said the code of ethics was drawn up with the involvement of journalists and media organisations to guarantee their freedom to report news.

“However, there is no absolute freedom for any individual or organisation to publish false statements. In this context, the existing laws are sufficient to safeguard public peace.

“Therefore, journalists and media organisations must be responsible in publishing legitimate information,” he said when launching the code of ethics here today.

Fahmi also expressed hope that the document would spur the Malaysian media in serving the people as trusted sources for news.

The previous code of ethics for journalists was published by the Malaysian Press Institute in 1989, and was used by the information department as its main reference in issuing media accreditation cards.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s communications faculty and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s media and communication studies centre also helped in putting the latest code together.

Citing Malaysia’s position as 73rd out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ 2023 media freedom index, Fahmi said this achievement proved Putrajaya’s commitment to ensuring media freedom.

He added that Malaysia’s media landscape was “unique” and not necessarily subject to standards based on Western media.

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