Usah julang pengganas sebagai wira

Ucapan yang disampaikan oleh Ketua Pegawai Pegawai Eksekutif Malaysian Press Institute (MPI), Datuk Dr. Chamil Wariya pada majlis penutupan   Workshop on role of media in covering violent extremism (CVE) and radicalization leading to terrorism Melaka pada 27 September 2018 jam 11.30 pagi.

Majlis penutupan dan penyampaian sijil disempurnakan oleh Press Attache Kedutaan Amerika Syarikat, Mr. Morgan J O’Brien. Bengkel tiga hari ini  dianjurkan bersama oleh Kedutaan Amerika Syarikat di Kuala Lumpur, South East Asia Regional Centre for Counter Terrorism (SEARCTT), Kementerian Luar Negeri Malaysia dan MPI


Syukur alhamdulilah this “Workshop on role of media in covering violent extremism (CVE) and radicalization leading to terrorism” will end shortly. When Puan Lenny Latif of the United States Embassy, with blessings from her boss, Mr. Morgan J. O’Brien the 3rd of course, suggested that we – the US Embassy, South East Asia Regional Centre for Counter Terrorism (SEARCTT) and MPI should work together on this programme some months back, honestly I did not know what to expect.

My thought then was as far as MPI is concerned, we were venturing into uncharted water, so to speak. Not that I was not familiar with the terms violent extremism, radicalization, terrorism or counter terrorism, but whether the topic is interesting enough to entice journalists to attend the workshop.

But after we had a meeting with South East Asia Regional Centre for Counter Terrorism (SEARCCT), chaired by its Director General, YBhg Datuk Azmil Mohd Zabidi, I was convinced that Puan Lenny’s suggestion was a good one and organizing this workshop was timely.

After two and a half day here in Melaka Bandar Raya Bersejarah, the success of the collaboration between the US Embassy, SEARCTT and MPI in organizing this workshop is obvious enough. Thanks to SEARCTT and the US Embassy the workshop has assembled a number of experts in their respective areas to talk about the topics. Indeed they were credible and authoritative speakers talking about different dimensions about extreme violent, radicalization and terrorism and counter terrorism.

How has the workshop benefitted the 32 participants from a number of media organisations?

Some of the participants that I spoke to agreed that they have benefitted greatly from this workshop especially in enhancing and enlightening their understanding of what extreme violent, radicalization and terrorism are all about. They also agreed that threats from terrorist groups, using whatever ideology, cannot be taken lightly and counter narratives to defeat them is not only the work of the government but also the media and society on the whole. This is war in which the rational mind cannot afford to lose, one participant told me.

The briefing by the Bukit Aman Bomb Disposal Unit head that we had at Malacca polis headquarters was indeed an eye opener to many of us. The bomb explosion demonstration that followed at a quarry in Ayer Kroh, was clear enough to tell us that explosive materials in the wrong hand can disastrous.

Unlike Indonesia, we in Malaysia are lucky that until now, there is only one terrorist attack against civilian target that is a night club in Puchong, near Kuala Lumpur. But the scene can change. Malaysia too can be targets for terrorist attacks in the future if we fail in to counter the narratives of the terrorists groups.

This is where your role as journalists came into the picture. With better understanding of issues at hand, media practitioners should be able to produce good and compelling news stories and analysis to educate and create awareness among the public on the danger of radicalization, if left unchecked, will lead to terrorism. The use of appropriate terminologies to describe terrorism and terrorists are important. Terrorists are terrorists whatever their ideologies are.

As reminded by Datuk Salleh Buang yesterday, we have a public duty to report about terrorism and its danger, truthfully, accurately. He also reminded us, as professionals, we have to do our work judiciously adhering certain code of conduct; we have to remain impartial and yet at the same time in doing so we do not glorify terrorism and portrayed terrorists as heroes.

Finally I would like to convey MPI’s heartfelt appreciation to both the US Embassy especially to Mr. Morgan O’ Brien and Puan Lenny and to SEARCTT and its director general and his team for collaborating with us in organizing this two and half day workshop and also another similar workshop in Kota Bharu next week.

I must put on record that the US Embassy has generously supported this program financially while SEARCTT has helped us in providing credible speakers to make this workshop a reality. And of course I would like to thank the 32 participants and their respective media organizations for taking part in this workshop as without your participation the workshop would not take place. To Universiti Sains Malaysia dan Segi University also thank you for sending two of their journalism lecturers to be with us.

I sincerely hope that each and one of you have benefitted from the programme. I can assure you we at MPI will continue to work with the US Embassy and also SEARCTT to organise more program of this nature in the future.  I know Puan Norhafiza Kamaluddin and members of her training team are ever ready to do so.

Yesterday, Datuk Salleh Buang quoted Albert Einstein, the most influential physicist of the 20th century, perhaps the most famous scientist to have ever lived, as saying that once you stop learning, you start dying. As journalists we should embrace this saying wholeheartedly. Only then we can serve our respective audiences effectively via our writings. Thank you.