"How will the print media survive if the future generations themselves do not read newspapers?" asked veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin during the ‘Survival of Print Media: Why Go Soft When You Can Go Hard’ forum in Shah Alam today.
Kadir said this after moderator Abdul Hamid Mohamed asked the floor, made up of academicians, public and private university students, and other guests, if they had read the newspapers this morning with hardly anyone raising their hands.
“From the survey just now, no one read the papers today. If this is the economic group that will support the print media, then the print media is already dead.
"You are the ones who will decide on the newspapers’ future...the survival of newspapers is up to you," said Kadir, who is also the media and communications advisor in the Prime Minister's Office.
He went on to explain that newspapers would only remain relevant if they were still bought and read by people, and that they would disappear in time without people's support in the first place.
On the importance of the culture of reading, the veteran journalist told his mainly young audience, “I read newspapers, not because I don’t have information but because it has become a habit. But you have never made it a habit to read newspapers”.
Despite the concern over the relevance of newspapers, Kadir expressed the hope that the print media would continue to survive as it was more reliable and carried quality content.
He also noted that social media in turn, was an overpowering influence, with some journalists choosing to quote individuals from social media platforms.
"Maybe in the future, we will depend on 'membawang' (gossiping) as the source of news," Kadir said in jest, while also observing that the quality of Bahasa Malaysia and English used in newspapers, had declined.
"I even fear that the so-called rescue of newspaper companies in this country may not bring about the desired changes and improvements in ensuring good journalism," he added.
Besides Kadir, other panellists for the forum comprised Defence Deputy Minister Liew Chin Tong, Datuk Khalid Jaafar, advisor to the Economic Affairs Minister, and UMNO Youth vice-chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan.
The forum, attended by approximately 150 participants, was organised by Universiti Teknologi Mara's (UiTM) Mass Communications and Media Studies Alumni Association in collaboration with the Mass Communication Faculty at UiTM Rembau, Negeri Sembilan.