The Pakatan Harapan-led government has given the assurance that press freedom in the country would be given more space to grow.
Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah (above) said Malaysia was now going through a political transition towards a mature democratic country, and the media plays a crucial role in realising the objective.
He said the government had been more open and willing in embracing press freedom, especially after the 14th general election.
“Journalists do not have to worry about receiving calls from the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) or other ministers.
“In fact, it is okay to hold more debates. Hopefully, no editor will be summoned anymore just because some pictures are ‘not interesting enough’,” he said at the Malaysian Press Night 2018 and presentation of the 2017 Malaysian Press Institute (MPI)-Petronas Journalism Awards in Kuala Lumpur last night.
Also present were MPI chief executive officer Chamil Wariya; veteran journalists A Kadir Jasin and Zainuddin Maidin; as well as Yong Soo Heong, the MPI-Petronas 2017 Journalism Awards head jury.
A total of 20 categories were contested this year including Best Infographics, Best Editorial Cartoon, Outstanding News Report, Best Radio Report, Best News Portal Report, Outstanding Photo Essay and Best Investigative Journalism Report.
The Star’s team of journalists won the coveted Kajai award with their report “The Student Trafficking Trade”. They took home RM30,000, certificates and a trophy.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) journalists won three awards. Each walked away with RM1,000 cash and a certificate.
Economic News Services journalist Niam Seet Wei’s three reports – “Old bike shop Choo Ho Leong spurred by renewed interest in cycling”, “Raise tax relief to boost insurance penetration rate”, and “Bursa Malaysia concludes 2017 on GHD note” – earned consolation prizes under the Best News Portal Report category.
Bernama Radio journalists Ahmad Fawzan Azmie Abdul Halil and Nurliyana Farhah Ruslan won consolation prizes for their reports “Ampang Park: Sayonara” and “Tapak Pembinaan: Lubang Maut” in the Best Radio Report category.