IJF 2011: Enhanching Young Journalist Writing Skills

Full text of Datuk Chamil Wariya’s welcoming remarks, given at the launching of MPI International Journalism Fellowship (IJF) 2011 on 1 November 2011. The event was launched by Datuk Norhyati Ismail, Director General of Broadcasting Deparment, Malaysia.

On behalf of Malaysian Press Institute (MPI), it is indeed with great pleasure that I welcome the participants of MPI’s 2011 International Journalism Fellowship (IJF).

To our foreign participants, selamat datang to Malaysia and I do hope your stay in this beloved country of ours would be a pleasant and a memorable one – something that you will cherish for the rest of your life. I would like to congratulate all the participants for being chosen by their respective media and news organizations to take part in this one month program. For 2011, 19 of them representing Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Namibia, the Republic of Philipines will be participating for this annual program.

This is MPI’s fourth annual IJF program, which was launched in 2008 with the generous support from a special grant from the government of Malaysia, channeled via the Ministry of Information. The objective was to enhanced MPI’s role in the field of training for working journalists, both locally and internationally, similar to that of Berlin Institute of Journalism during the cold war era. It was felt then that journalists from the developing world, especially the young ones, need a forum to interact with each other and IJF, in a small way, is the answer to that need. At least we hope so.

The idea was mooted in 2007 by Tan Sri Zainudin Maidin, who headed the ministry at that time and the program was officially launched in 2008 by Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who succeeded Tan Sri Zainuddin as the minister. The current Minister of Information, Communication and Culture, Datuk Seri Utama

Dr. Rais Yatim also lend his undivided support to the program. I would like to convey MPI’s appreciation to the government of Malaysia for its continuous support of IJF.

I am glad to report that not only the Malaysia Federal Government is supporting the program. Assistance and help, in kind and in cash, also come from a number of Malaysian corporate entities and other government agencies. For this 2011 program, I would like to acknowledge the sponsorship given by the following:

1. Tourism Malaysia

2. Ambank Berhad, Malaysia

3. Maybank Berhad

4. Permodalan Nasional Berhad

5. The state government of Terengganu

6. Pos Malaysia Berhad

7. Celcom Malaysia Berhad

8. PETRONAS

9. Emkay Berhad

10. Maxis Berhad

Although MPI International Journalism Fellowship is a Malaysian government supported project, but the designed of the program’s content and the selecting of the media trainers are done independently by us at MPI to full fill a certain objectives which has been outlined in the program book distributed to you. Our mission is to provide participants with hands-on training by professional media trainers, comprising of veteran media practitioners and media academics in print, broadcast and multimedia journalism.

Hence experienced and veteran journalists and media academics from Australia, China and Malaysia will facilitate the program. The following areas, in the context of a convergent media environment, will be emphasized: news writings, arts of interviewing, reporting on development issues, reporting religion and conflict, understanding new tool for reporting, the new media and photo journalism.

We stress on a convergent media environment simply because the advent of Internet, and with it a host of news portal and all sort of social media, has transformed the landscape of journalism. Journalism is no longer merely as the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines, or of broadcasting news on radio and television. Along the four specific vehicles for communication, we now have news websites as the latest vehicle to disseminate information, ideas and opinion to a wide audience. The like of blogs, podcasts, online news portals have paved way to the radical transformation into the established habits of information acquisition. Websites like MySpace.com, Facebook.com and many more are creating complete new communities of linked people, ambitions, patterns and decision trees that have already changed everything about how the world learns of information. This new information infrastructure is here to say and will feature permanently in our system of information exchange.

Clearly, forces both inside and outside the media themselves, driven by technology surely, have given new meaning to journalism and journalists. The rise of the so called citizen journalist is blurring the lines distinguishing between professional journalists and other people who disseminate information as well. And in an indirect way, the IJF program is helping you people to face the ever changing world of journalism.

When the current fourth IJF program ends on 25 November 2011, the IJF alumni or former students since its inception in 2008 will stand at 89. The breakdown is as follows:

 Table 1:

 IJF Participant, 2008 – 2011

Year

 

Total

2008

                                 32

2009

                                 18

2010

                                 20

2011

                                 19

 And you may ask: Where do those 89 IJF “graduates” come from? The answer is: 18 developing countries have participated in the program thus far. And they are from all over the world as far as Ukraine, Mongolia and South Africa.

The breakdowns are as follows:

 Table 2: Participants of IJF 2008 – 2011: Where do they come from?

Country/ Year Attend         2008         2009         2010         2011         Total
Bangladesh 

1

1

2

Brunei 

1

2

2

1

6

Indonesia 

5

7

4

4

20

Laos 

1

1

Malaysia 

14

6

9

11

40

Mongolia 

1

1

Namibia 

1

1

Republic Philippines 

1

1

3

2

7

Republic Yemen 

1

1

Saudi Arabia 

1

1

Seychelles 

1

1

South Africa 

1

1

Sri Lanka 

1

1

2

Syria 

1

1

Ukraine 

1

1

Uzbekistan 

1

1

Vietnam 

1

1

Zimbabwe 

1

1

When we designed this program in 2008, the target audience are young journalists, i.e. those who are 30 years old and below, from the developing world. In the interest of effective learning – and also because of budget constraints, we have limited IJF to 20 participants annually. We have discovered that 20 is the ideal number of students for any given training program as to enable the participants to benefit greatly from what are being taught in classes and also field trips to a number of interesting places to enable them to experience Malaysia’s rich multicultural lifestyle. This time round, the participants will have the opportunity to visit Malaysia’s the northern state of Penang.

As you can see, IJF is not only about updating and acquiring new knowledge on current trends in contemporary international journalism; developing critical skills in research and analysis of information so that the participants have a deeper insights and understanding into higher level reporting techniques. More importantly, IJF is also about networking building and developing a feeling of friendship between people who do things together, who share a common interest, aim and belief.

In our case, not matter where you come from, it is journalism that is binding us together. Journalism is our common interest, aim and belief. It is journalism that have brought you here. Hence that is why the program is called International Journalism Fellowship. That idea is not only for you to do your work individually, but through active interactions, role plays, case studies and group exercises.

I sincerely hope that the friendship that you are about to embark shortly in this program, which is only the beginning of your new journey, will be a lasting one.

True, all of you are now young, but twenty years or even less down the road, you will be somebody or even leader in your own media organization and country. By then I hope you will think how lucky you are that you have friends all over the developing world just by attending this program. And with the speed of globalization, only sky is the limit for you to realize your future dreams and ambitions. In that sense, MPI and IJF are only tools for you to achieve bigger things in your life and career. And I wish you all the best in your future endeavor post IJF 2011.

Thank you. Assalamualaikum.

Chamil Wariya,

Malaysian Press Institute.

1 November 2011

 


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