ATIPSOM workshop enlightens journalists on complex issue of modern day slavery
Ucapan alu-aluan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Malaysian Press Institute, Datuk Dr. Chamil Wariya di Workshop on Reporting on Trafficking in Persons, Grand Alora Hotel, Alor Star, Kedah pada 12 April 2016, jam 11 pagi.
Pertama-tama saya memanjatkan kesyukuran ke hadrat Allah SWT kerana dengan izinNya jua kita dapat berada di dewan ini pada pagi ini untuk menjayakan Workshop on Reporting on Trafficking in Persons. Kedua, saya ingin mengambil kesempatan awal ini untuk mengucapkan selamat datang kepada kepada Tuan Yang Terutama Ambassador Joseph Y. Yun, Duta Besar Amerika Syarikat ke Malaysia, atas kesudian beliau hadir dan seterusnya melancarkan perasmian program ini sebentar lagi. Saya juga mengalu-alukan kehadiran Encik Kevin Geh Kien Meng, Timbalan Setiausaha Rendah NSO MAPO, Kementerian Dalam Negeri Malaysia.
Kedutaan Amerika Syarikat di Kuala Lumpur dan NSO MAPO adalah rakan Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) dalam menjayakan bengkel yang kita adakan selama tiga hari ini. MPI menghargai sumbangan kewangan yang dihulurkan oleh Kedutaan Amerika Syarikat untuk melaksanakan program kali keenam ini. Penghargaan juga dipanjangkan kepada NSO-MAPO yang menyediakan kemudahan-kemudahan logistik untuk membawa peserta ke kawasan sempadan Malaysia-Thailand selain mengaturkan taklimat oleh pihak PDRM, jabatan imegresen dan agensi-agensi keselamatan yang lain untuk program tahunan ini. MPI juga terhutang budi kepada pihak Jabatan Peguam Negara atas kesudian memberi taklimat mengenai isu-isu perdagangan orang dari perspektif perundangan.
His Excellency, ladies and gentlemen
The Workshop on Reporting on Trafficking in Persons in Alor Setar Kedah is the sixth that we are organizing for Malaysian journalists. The first was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2009 and since then the workshop has taken us to Kota Kinabalu in 2012, Kota Bharu (2013), Johor Bharu (2014 ) and Kuching last year. Perhaps, next year we can take this program to Tawau, eastern Sabah where human trafficking is also rampant, I was told.
I am glad to report that when the workshop in Alor Setar ends on Thursday, 164 journalists from 41 news organizations have participated in the workshop. Five news organizations from two neighboring countries i.e. Republic of Indonesia, Republic of Singapore and Thailand had also participated. See Table 1.
Table 1: Workshop on Reporting on Trafficking in Persons, 2009 – 2016
|3||Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka||2||1||1|
|8||New Straits Times||1||3||3||2|
|10||Nanyang Siang Pau||1||3|
|11||Universiti Utara Malaysia||1|
|15||HCK Media Sdn Bhd||1|
|16||AlHijrah Media Corp||1||3||1|
|18||Jabatan Penerangan Sarawak||1||4|
|19||Sin Chew Daily||2|
|20||Jabatan Penyiaran Sarawak||1|
|24||See Hua Daily News||4|
|27||Jabatan Penerangan Sabah||2||1|
|31||The Malay Mail||1|
|33||Jabatan Penyiaran Sabah||1|
|34||New Sabah Times||2|
|36||Sun Media Corporation||1|
|37||Kompas TV (Indonesia)||1|
|38||Rakyat Merdeka (Indonesia)||1|
|39||Forum Keadilan (Indonsia)||1|
|40||Channel News Asia||2|
|41||The Straits Times (Singapore)||2|
|Total||41 (Media organizations)/164 participants||23||15||23||30||42||31|
I believe that the previous workshops had an educative impact for the participants. Their understanding of human trafficking issues had improved enormously as compared to before and some of them especially those who are attached at crime desk of their news organizations have frequently reported on this problem of human trafficking, although mainly based on official sources.
On the part of the government, continuous efforts also have been put in place to seriously tackling the issue. For example the ATIPSOM Act which was first introduce in 2007 was amended recently, among other, to give a role to NGOs to run shelter homes for victims of human trafficking as suggested by the US government. Seminars on human trafficking too have been organized for judges and public prosecutors to enhance their understanding of the issues. The Home Ministry of Malaysia is making a conscious effort to improve Malaysia’s ranking in the human trafficking index produced annually by the US State Department in Washington. The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, while in the US capital two weeks ago, has set a target to improve our ranking to Tier 1 as opposed to Tier 2 Watch List now.
We hope that these collaborative efforts of journalists, government officials, and NGO will change the current situation. We will no more hold a simple view that these groups of people are merely accomplices of international syndicates involved in border or immigrant related criminal activities. The issue at hand is more complex. As an international phenomenon, human trafficking organizes itself within a complex structure of sophisticated black markets, undeveloped economies and failed state practices. It is a cruel practice where naive and innocent people are manipulated into inhuman commitment. These people are essentially victims. They are not criminals. They must be treated with respect. Their basic human rights must be observed. Thus it is important that any collaborative effort towards deterrence and prevention are designed within this perspective.
His Excellency, ladies and gentleman
With us today, a total of 31 media practitioners, representing the New Straits Times, Berita Harian, Harian Metro, Bernama, Daily Express, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Sun Media Corporation Berhad, Kosmo!, Utusan Malaysia, Radio and Televisyen Malaysia, The Star, Astro Awani, MalaysiaAktif and The Malay Mail, will take part in this program.
In the next three days, a packed program has been lined up for them. Among other, speakers representing NSO-MAPO, PDRM, The Attorney General Chamber, The US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur will address the workshop. During the three day sessions, participant will have opportunities to interact with a number of experts on trafficking issues to enhance their understanding on this problem of modern day slavery, faced not only by Malaysia but other countries as well. A field trip has also been arranged for them to areas bordering Thailand to see with their own eyes where and how human trafficking is done. Hopefully, at the end of the program participants will get a clearer picture of what human trafficking is all about.
As I have alluded, human trafficking is a complex issue as in Malaysia alone, it is estimated that they are more than four million foreign workers, documented and undocumented and majority of trafficking victims are the foreign workers who are here already. With more foreign workers from neighboring countries often voluntarily migrate to Malaysia in search of greater economic opportunities in the coming years the problem of modern day slavery is set to rise. Malaysia, as highlighted by 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, issued by the US government, “is a destination and to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and exploitative labor conditions; and women also subjected to sex trafficking.”
Finally, once again thank you to all parties that have worked so hard to make this workshop a reality. Sesungguhnya MPI berbangga dengan penganjuran program ini yang bertujuan untuk mendedahkan pengamal media di negara ini dengan pengetahuan dan maklumat mengenai isu pemerdagangan orang dan juga migran. Supaya dengan itu, dalam menyediakan penulisan dan pelaporan mengenai pemerdagangan orang dan migran ini mereka melaporkan kebenaran (truth), seimbang (balance) dan objektif (objective) serta mengamalkan kewartawanan yang bertanggungjawab sepanjang masa.