Malaysiakini founder Premesh Chandran spoke about the plans for the newly launched community website, Komunitikini.com, at the recent Citizen Journalist Conference held at the Central Market Annexe last Saturday. He said the portal plans to expand to 30 communities within a year.
Premesh said the newly launched Komunitikini will work with citizen journalists around the country to provide local insights.
“Citizen journalists will function as someone from the community, to address issues of concern in the community,” he said in a speech after launching Komunitikini with Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan and Subang assemblywoman Hannah Yeoh.
Komunitikini has been running for one month and now prioritising Subang Jaya, Puchong, Petaling Jaya, Bangsar and Damansara in the first phase.
Premesh also excited the crowd when he announced Malaysiakini has filed an application for a print license.
“We applied for it seven years ago, but they (the authority) gave us no reply. I think they have no reason to say ‘no’’ now because we have a very good track record so far,” he said.
In the conference where more than 180 citizen journalists from all over Malaysia attended, the organisers screened a video about the life of Sarawak Penan community, produced by two Penan citizen journalists.
The two journalists made an open plea for better education infrastructure for the Penans and dedicated schools for the community.
“Many of us did not attend high school because the nearest school takes us about one week’s time to drive to,” Gayut Lim, the Penan guy said.
It partially denies the access of Penan to higher education, resulting in the lack of progress among the community.
Subang state assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh in her speech said local news can serve to inform the public regarding the proper jurisdiction of channels and power separation between state and federal governments.
She meanwhile suggested for more positive news to be circulated.
“I think our society reads too much bad news. Everyday when we open the newspaper, it’s all depressing news,” she said.
The two-day conference saw seasoned journalists such as Veronica Pedrosa (Al-Jazeera) and Onn Yeoh (The Edge) speaking about topics including citizen journalism, new media, and journalism ethics.
The event also saw awards being given out for the best videos created by citizen journalists.
Malaysiakini initiated the citizen journalist project over a year ago by organising a series of workshops to train the citizens to report news, events and issues pertaining to their communities.