Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who, What is a Malaysian Journalist?

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.


  1. asalkan Kalimullah bukan President, aku no problem..hehe

  2. Brother,

    This is timely. You may have some fine tuning to do, but the principle is firm and worth supporting. Syabas!

    pahit manis

  3. Abang Presiden
    Tengok2kan juga etika berpakaian reporter2 ni. Semakin hari semakin menjolok mata. Reporter2 baru MSM ni galak berpakaian macam reporter2 suratkabar Cina dulu2 ala Cina Bukit gitu. Sekarang reporter2 suratkabar Cina pun dah pandai jaga etika berpakaian.
    Suruh mereka tinggalkan baju2 Baby-T dengan yang tak berlengan tu untuk pakai harian kat rumah, bukan ke pejabat.
    Kalau nak berseluar pun, yang tailor-made, bukan cut-off macam nak pi pantai. Nak pakai skirt tu berpada2lah pendeknya.
    Malulah sikit kat pak menteri dan timbalan menteri. Kenalah jaga nama syarikat yang awak wakili.
    Sekian Terimakasih.

    Polis Fesyen

  4. Come on lah. Kasi Kali dan Brendan join sama. Brendan boleh spin story untuk Press club. As for Kali, kasi dia jadi editor Berita NPC>

  5. Bro,

    now whenever ada contest menulis for journalist mat freelance tidak bermajikan tetap macam myself tak ada dalam senarai la.... walhal kita pun reporter juga.... kena masuk atas tiket orang awam - rasa macam budak baru habis SPM dan dapat lesen hisap rokok as orang awam!


  6. "main income is derived from the above media".

    I guess it means permanent staff of the media. If it is not so accurate, it is timely for you to change it. But, what about stringers who may write one or two articles or news once in every blue moon?
    I think journalists of the online media should be accepted.
    Bloggers however shouldn't be included. Why? If my 12 year old kid blogs in the cyberspace, should my kid be considered a journalist?
    Hope that you guys could discuss and see it from all angles.

  7. Hope the definition of journalists in turn brings about clear and positive definition to the club, the National PRESS Club.
    You can't have the Pope directing a pornographic movie can you? Or the 'concert hall manager' chairing the editorial meeting? if u get what i mean...

  8. a singaporean who is 'resident in malaysia' can join or not?
    especially as his fulltime job is to monitor malaysia news?
    and his freetime job is to needle malaysians?

    or is that considered too similar to singapore-'operative' types who are zillionaires (unlike a regular salaryman like me)?

    just asking.... :-)

  9. rem,

    dah tentu boleh!

    and thanks anon 7:02pm, yep we can't have a 12 yr old blogger becoming a press club member!