BY: Rosli Mansor Ahmad Razali
National Journalists’ Day (HAWANA) 2023 has successfully achieved its objectives during the two-day event held on May 27th and 28th, 2023.
Media plays a crucial role as an intermediary in the development, national unity, and people’s welfare. It encompasses all fields involving society, including economics, politics, education, entertainment, religion, science, technology, human welfare and well-being, environment, and ecology.
The current global technological advancements have influenced the world of journalism, particularly traditional media, due to the rise of social media as the primary source of news and entertainment.
However, what caught the attention of HAWANA visitors this year was an exhibition showcasing the beginnings of journalism in Malaya (Tanah Melayu).
The exhibition gathered materials from the Arkib Negara Malaysia (National Archives of Malaysia), presenting various information through excerpts from the first editions of old newspapers, such as the oldest Jawi Peranakan newspaper published in January 1887.
Similarly, Kwong Wah Poh, a Chinese-language newspaper in Malaya, was founded in Penang on December 20th, 1910. It was later renamed as Kwong Wah Yit Poh.
The first edition of Utusan Melayu in the Jawi script was published on May 29th, 1939. The inaugural issue of Berita Harian was published on July 1st, 1957. Likewise, The Star newspaper was first published on September 9th, 1971.
The Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA) was established under an Act of Parliament on April 6th, 1967, and began operations on May 20th, 1968.
Moving on to the next exhibition, it showcased the belongings of renowned local journalist Zainal Abidin Ahmad, also known as Pendeta Za’ba.
A Remington Rand typewriter, once used by Pendeta Za’ba, attracted visitors’ attention. He used this typewriter during his time as a Translator at the Karang Mengarang Office, during the Sultan Idris Teachers College (SITC) era in Tanjong Malim in 1924.
The keyboard of the typewriter had Jawi characters before the switch to the widely used Roman characters in Malaya.
Additionally, the exhibition displayed equipment used by journalists before the digital era, such as typewriters, mobile phones, various tape recorders, digital cameras, film processing machines, and more.
This brief narrative encompasses the traditional media exhibition, leading up to the era of advanced modern media.
However, conventional media outlets remain relevant today, despite having to face competition from social media platforms that provide access to information through various channels.
Ultimately, it is up to the readers to assess the credibility of journalists in delivering accurate and reliable news sources, by the ethical guidelines set for reporting news to the public.