The National Press Club Malaysia has 9 categories of members. Top of the list are "Ordinary Members". Only bona fide journalists can be Ordinary Members, and only they can vote at meetings.
Under the 1992 Constitution of the club, Ordinary Members are "residents in Malaysia who are on the editorial staff of newspapers, radio and television, news agencies, photo services, feature services, magazines, Government Information services and resident freelance journalists whose main income is derived from the above media".
Basically, that's how journalists have been defined by the NPC, the oldest and one of the biggest journalists bodies in the country. The National Union of Journalists, the Malaysian Press Institute, and the other organisations may have their own definitions.
"...whose main income is derived from the above media ..."
I have always had a problem with this line. Journalists should not be defined by ringgit and sen. By the years of journalism they have put in, maybe. By the number of articles, columns, books, working papers they have published, perhaps. By way of recognition by their peers, especially.
But not how much the journalist earns from his writings vis-a-vis other things that the journalist does to supplement his income (like singing in a pub, script writing, giving tuitions, treasure hunting, etc). Journalists know that they are some of the poorest paid professionals in the country!
One of the first things I did after assuming the Presidency of the NPC last month is to convince the Exco that we need to redefine ourselves. We need a new definition for "Ordinary Members". My "sabbatical" in cyberspace/blogosphere has also brought me closer to New Media journalists. Those with online news like MalaysiaKini and Harakah, for example.
Tonight a committee led by our Advisor, Encik Mokhtar Hussein of Bernama, met for the first time to review the Constitution of the NPC, especiall with regards to the defition of Ordinary Members/Journalists. We are going to bring in veteran journos as well as people who have been dealing with journalists nearly all their lives, especially those in advertising and PR, to help us with the undertaking. A former Judge will be consulted for this exercise.