Celebrate World Press Freedom Day at our forum: Building Peace Across Communities (8 May)

52 years ago,
on 1 September, newspapers heralded the birth of a new nation comprised of
peoples of multiple ethnicities. Today, the media buzzword is 1Malaysia, a
concept introduced by the government of the day as an affirmation of the
various ethnic groups that make up the nation.

 

 

That
the concept itself is needed five decades after Independence is a reflection of
the deteriorating state of race relations in the country.

 

For
media watchers, it brings to question the role that the media has played as
both shaper and mirror of society, constrained as they may be by the
sociopolitical and ownership demands of the environment in which it operates.
How
has the media coverage of ethnic relations been? What are the challenges
journalists face when it comes to reporting on matters that involve the
apparently still-sensitive issue of ethnicity? What are the ways of providing
space for meaningful discussion on ethnic issues without distilling the truth
of the story? Is this issue of media representation of ethnic groups a concern
across Malaysia or is it only a peninsular preoccupation?

 

Looking ahead, how can the media
reflect the commonalities that the 1Malaysia concept strives to highlight above
the differences that are nevertheless an essential part of what makes our
nation? What are the lessons we can take from
our neighbour Indonesia, which has experienced some of the most violent
ethnic/religious conflicts in the region, but whose civil society organisations
– including media – have risen to the challenge of mediating for peace?

 

One of the breakthroughs was in Ambon,
where a bloody three-year inter-religious conflict that got the media taking
sides and fanning fires, also gave birth to the Maluku Media Center which was
established to promote peace journalism.

 

Find out more at our
forum:

 

Building
Peace Across Communities

When: 8 May 2009 (Saturday); 10.30am-1.30pm

Where: The Annexe Gallery, 2nd Floor, Central Market Annexe, Jalan Hang Kasturi, Kuala
Lumpur.

We'll also be launching our yearly report, Freedom
of Expression in Malaysia 2009:
An
Annual Review by CIJ.

 

Confirmed Panellists:

  • Ms Insany Syahbarwati,
    head of the Maluku Media Center, Ambon, Indonesia
  • Dr Mustafa K. Anuar,
    communication studies lecturer
  • Ms Jacqueline Ann Surin,
    editor of The Nut Graph
    (www.thenutgraph.com)
  • Ms Prangtip Daoreung, Asian Public Intellectuals Fellow

 

Programme:

1.
Presentation by Insany Syahbarwati of the Maluku Media Center

2.
Set questions for all panellists

3.
Questions from the floor

4.
Launching of Freedom of Expression in
Malaysia 2009: An Annual Review by CIJ

5.
Presentation of tokens of appreciation to panellists

6.
Lunch

 


This event is being produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this event are the sole responsibility of Centre for Independent Journalism and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union. 

 

Supported in part by a grant from Foundation Open Society Institute (Zug).

 

———————



 

Biodata of panellists

Insany Syahbarwaty is an Indonesian correspondent
with SUNTV for Maluku. She has worked in various media outlets, from print to
television, covering Maluku and Makassar since 1999. She has done research on
the dilemma of Maluku journalists caught between criminality and uncertainty, and
has written a book, Mozaik Pers di Bumi
Raja-Raja
(Press Mosaic on the Land of Kings). She is also the head of the
Maluku Media Centre, which was set up by the Alliance of Independent
Journalists (AJI), Indonesia, to promote peace journalism in the area following
the bloody conflict between Christians and Muslims at the turn of the century.

Jacqueline
Ann Surin

is the co-founder and editor of
The Nut Graph. She is an award-winning Malaysian journalist who co-founded MalaysiaVotes.com with Cindy Tham
and Danny Lim in early 2008. A journalist since 1994 first with The Star, then The Edge and theSun, she is also the author of Shape of a Pocket. She gained an M.A. in
Media Studies at Sussex University in England as a Chevening scholar, and
studied journalism in the United States under the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship.
In 2007, she received the Excellence in Opinion Writing Award from the Society
of Publishers in Asia for her Shape of a Pocket column which she continues to
keep at The Nut Graph.
She was also named by London-based ARTICLE 19 as the Pioneering Women’s Voices
Candidate for Malaysia in commemoration of International Women’s Day in 2007.

Mustafa K. Anuar teaches communication studies
at the School of Communication in Universiti Sains Malaysia. In 2005-2007, he
coordinated a research project on ‘Disseminating Peace in Southeast Asia’, with
an emphasis on ‘peace journalism’. With fellow researchers from Thailand,
Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, this project examined how conflicts
were covered by journalists in the region. He co-authored with Eric Loo a book,
published this year, called Journalism in
Good Faith: Issues and Practices in Religion Reporting
. 

Prangtip
Daoreung
is a Thai freelance journalist/columnist who has written about the region for the
Matichon news site, Inter Press Service, Far Eastern Economic Review,
Asia
Magazine
and the Consortium
of Investigative Journalists
, and contributed essays to several media
books. She has also done research
for
the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC), among
others, and facilitated workshops on investigative journalism and peace
journalism. An Asian Public
Intellectuals Fellow, she studied
peace negotiations between Aceh and
the Indonesian government as well as of the Communist Party of Malaya and the
Malaysian government. She is part of a group of journalists who won the 2007
Sigma Delta Chi Award for Investigative Reporting, by the Society of
Professional Journalists (Indianapolis), and the IRE Award for Online Category,
by Investigative Reporters And Editors, Inc. (Columbia, Missouri), for the
series “Collateral Damage: Human Rights and U.S. Military Aid Before and
After 9/11”
. She is the first country director for Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA).