Journalists’ Code of Ethics, nothing new, nothing controversial — Teo Nie Ching

KULAI, March 10:  Those seeking to dispute the Malaysian Code of Ethics for Journalists must first understand the principles embedded in the code before making claims that it will restrict the media’s freedom, advised Deputy Communications Minister, Teo Nie Ching.

She stated that the updated code of ethics contains general journalistic principles, emphasises good and fair reporting and serves as a guide for media accreditation cardholders in carrying out their duties.

“Those who are complaining, please read this code first. It is not a new document. It was created by the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) in 1989. However, it has not been updated until efforts to do so by the Malaysian Information Department (JaPen) which engaged with MPI and other non-governmental bodies.

“You will agree that there is actually nothing controversial. The principles are very general, and most importantly, it emphasises good reporting and fair reporting – everything we expect from a journalist,” she emphasised.

She was addressing the claims by some parties that the recently launched Malaysian Journalists’ Code of Ethics would curb media freedom, during a media briefing after officiating the Back To School Contribution programme at a shopping centre yesterday.

On Feb 20, Communications Minister, Fahmi Fadzil, unveiled the new version of the Malaysian Journalists’ Code of Ethics, incorporating eight key principles.

Among them, journalists are entrusted with the responsibility of being the voice of a diverse society, emphasising transparency, integrity, and fairness in disseminating information.

Another ethical guideline dictates that reporting should remain unaffected by personal interests, ensuring the authenticity and accuracy of information, with journalists also required to respect the privacy and confidentiality of their sources.

Furthermore, journalists are encouraged to familiarise themselves with relevant laws, statutes, and policies pertaining to their responsibilities while prioritising continuous improvement of their journalistic skills.