In spite of Malaysia’s identity as a multicultural, multiracial and multi-religious society, it remains difficult to have constructive conversations about issues that arise within the country.
This is especially pertinent in the media industry, where journalists and media practitioners have to be wary of how the news is reported. This is on top of the other challenges the industry is currently facing, including decreasing revenues and increasing competition.
Some of these challenges are highlighted in Moving Mountains: The Challenges of Religious Representation in Malaysia, a report produced by Projek Dialog and Internews as part of Diverse Voices, a year-long program that included research, workshops with journalists, as well as interviews with editors and media practitioners.
The program connected and obtained knowledge from religious representatives, civil society organisations and media practitioners.
Some of the issues highlighted in the report included: 1) lack of funding, 2) lack of sources, knowledge and skills, 3) editorial gatekeeping and 4) topic sensitivity. The report also concluded with some key questions and recommendations moving forward.
“We hope that by highlighting these issues, we will be able to facilitate the increase of constructive discourse and improve reporting on religious issues in Malaysia,” said Asad Jan, Internews Regional Program Technical Advisor. “This is especially important in order to build a healthy media and information environment in Malaysia.”