Content Forum, MCMC host seminar on vital issues the media today face

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25: In a collaborative effort, the Content Forum and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) recently hosted ‘Beyond Headlines – A New Era of News,’ a day-long seminar uniting industry experts and thought leaders to tackle vital issues in Malaysia’s media landscape.

A press released issued by Content Forum today said the seminar delved into key focus areas, including combating disinformation, ethical reporting, managing information overload, and promoting public critical thinking.

Panel sessions highlighted the crucial role of news organisations in transparency, ethical reporting, and self-regulation, tackling challenges such as reporting on sensitive topics, influence of technology and
the evolving nature of digital age journalism.

In his opening statement, Datuk Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin, Chief Regulatory Officer of MCMC,
stressed the critical need for collaboration amid the convergence of traditional and new media.
He emphasised on the essential role of maintaining moderation and stability in news dissemination.

Addressing the varied perspectives on what constitutes ‘harmful,’ he stated, “There is a shared
responsibility of regulators and journalists in fact-checking. The Content Code, a comprehensive
guide by the Content Forum, offers valuable insights for media practitioners to navigate self-
regulation in this dynamic industry.”

In the realm of information overload, a crucial theme emerged—the pivotal role of news
organisations as the final stronghold of fact-checking. Discussions focused on the mounting
concerns regarding the proliferation of disinformation, shedding light on the potential role of AI in
discerning false news, including pinpointing individuals involved in malicious online activities,
commonly referred to as ‘cybertroopers.’

These discussions emphasised the need for vigilance when using AI-driven fact-checking systems, stressing the importance of “fact-checking the fact-checkers.”

Harnessing AI presents a substantial advantage in journalism by enabling the swift analysis of vast datasets, offering a powerful tool for tackling misinformation in the digital age.

Amidst evolving consumer preferences, media platforms are also grappling with the necessity to
adapt, notably due to the younger generation’s preference for concise, bite-sized information.

This adaptation extends to the necessity of tailoring content for diverse news formats, especially
on emerging media platforms like social media, to effectively engage with this new generation of
content consumers. Experts discussed the complex interplay of media and politics, addressing
concerns about biases and the media’s influence on public opinion. This challenge underscores
the balance needed between meeting consumer demands for information and maintaining
unbiased reporting principles.

In exploring the diverse facets of media responsibility, panellists delved into the impact of
Google search data on trends, stressing the need for discrimination-free news reporting as it
can shape public opinion. The discussion broadened to address key issues such as reducing
stigma around suicide, challenging harmful stereotypes, online hate speech, safeguarding
children’s privacy and advocating for humanised storytelling—particularly in relation to
marginalised communities and Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

Journalists bear the responsibility to combat stigmas in reporting, especially on sensitive topics
and avoid sensational headlines that may exacerbate societal issues or fuel stereotypes further.
Other areas discussed at the seminar included technology’s valuable role, the utilisation of social media as a news outlet as well as the challenges posed due to its ease of access for spreading fake news and misinformation.

The power of AI was also discussed, revealing both its acceptance and the fears it posed.

Kenny Ong, Chairman of the Content Forum in his closing address said, “We remain dedicated to championing self-regulation, as we believe it is the optimal solution, with our evolving Content Code that
welcomes valuable media input for continual improvement. Join the debate, and together, we’ll
make the necessary changes.”