This is important for the overall integrity of the country’s democratic system and progress as a civil society.
Malaysiakini’s CEO Premesh Chandran said this in Kota Kinabalu when meeting citizen journalists at the Citizen Journalists Malaysia (CY.MY), Borneo Chapter office at Wisma Merdeka headed by its Borneo Chapter Chief Marcel Chong.
Premesh was asked as to why his RM20 monthly subscription Malaysiakini news portal commands strong readership support when the Internet hosts a lot of other free access news portals.
“Anyone can start a news site, but can you get the readership?” he posed alluring to the credibility and integrity that Malaysiakini has built up over the years as a trusted brand.
He said the middle class Malaysians who could afford it should set aside, for example, one percent of their income to support good objective unbiased media for the good of the country.
He pointed out that the Bahasa Malaysia section of Malaysiakini is freely accessible to the public as the majority of readers are from the lower income category and this is cross-subsidized by the subscription revenue earned from other readers.
Premesh told citizen journalists not to indulge in propaganda or being a propagandist for any vested personal interest or party.
He said they could partake in politics as their right of a being a Malaysian citizen but when they act in their capacity as citizen journalists, they should always be truthful, fair, objective and balanced in their scope of news coverage.
Premesh stressed that they could cover political news but it should not be lopsided and unbalanced until the public assume that such news as mercenary propaganda.
He assured his support for the Borneo CJ.MY Chapter activities. Premesh hoped that the Borneo Chapter would be self sufficient in generating its own revenue by selling news and video footages to other news media and said he would assist in soliciting funds for future projects that the chapter plans to carry out.