25/05/2024 09:30 AM

KUCHING, May 25 (Bernama) -- The organisation of the National Journalists’ Day (HAWANA) 2024 in Sarawak is an ideal platform to prepare local media practitioners and foster stronger relationships with their Southeast Asian counterparts as Malaysia gears up to assume ASEAN chairmanship next year.

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil said this year’s HAWANA serves as a key platform for ASEAN journalists to discuss relevant issues, thus preparing the country to play an effective role as ASEAN chairman in 2025.

“If we want to talk about ASEAN, there needs to be media that talks about ASEAN. Therefore, we need a better mutual understanding and interaction among media practitioners because this will help us create a better future for ASEAN.

“Next year is going to be a big year not only for HAWANA but also for Malaysia. Therefore, I hope that our experience in Sarawak will provide a lot of very good learning so that we can be a good host for ASEAN and organise a grander HAWANA programme,” he said in a special interview in conjunction with HAWANA 2024 here last night.

Themed ‘Etika Teras Kewartawanan Mapan’, the three-day HAWANA 2024 celebration kicked off today.

Taking inspiration from the establishment of the Ikatan Setiakawan Malaysia-Indonesia (ISWAMI), which serves as a forum for both countries to exchange journalistic values, Fahmi said cooperation between media organisations within ASEAN countries needs to be enhanced, including through the organisation of HAWANA.

“Cooperation with journalists’ associations in every state is also needed, not just in Kuala Lumpur. For example, media friends in Sabah and Sarawak certainly have closer ties with journalists’ associations in Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia.

“That is why for this year’s HAWANA, I asked to invite journalists and media from various ASEAN countries and it is learnt that six ASEAN countries are involved, which is a good start,” he said.

Besides Malaysia, the five other ASEAN countries involved in HAWANA 2024 are Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Representatives from Timor Leste, Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, China, and South Korea are also participating.

Various programmes will be held, such as the HAWANA 2024 Excursion with Students programme, which will be officiated by Fahmi at Pustaka Negeri here this morning.

The HAWANA 2024 Exhibition at the Main Atrium of the Plaza Merdeka Shopping Centre from today until Monday features 20 booths representing various agencies, offering the public opportunities to gather information and participate in various activities.

There is also the Sarawak Media Conference 2024, themed ‘Evolution of Media in the Digital Era’, which will be held for two days starting tomorrow and inaugurated by Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

HAWANA 2024 participants will also get to experience the unique culture and latest developments of Sarawak through the ‘Juh Raon’ programme, which includes visits to iconic locations around the city, including the Borneo Cultural Museum, Darul Hana Bridge and Dataran Ibu Pertiwi.

They will also be feted at a dinner reception hosted by Sarawak Governor Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

HAWANA was first held in the federal capital in 2018, followed by subsequent celebrations in Melaka (2022) and Perak (2023).

The date of May 29 was chosen as National Journalists’ Day to commemorate the first publication of the Utusan Melayu newspaper on May 29, 1939.


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