JUST a quick one before work starts full steam today - Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said TV and newspapers no longer have the credibility that they once commanded. That's what one newspaper said today.
The NST says the public are more skeptical nowadays, and even demand to know who owns the newspapers and who the editors are. This was not the case before, the minister said.
If what the minister says is true, then something must be done to rectify this. A lot of tax payers money are being spent on state-owned television and radio stations, and they can't all be that bad. As for mainstream newspapers, people do still read them and advertisers can't ignore the considerable following they command, albeit a reduced one at that.
One question though - could this erosion in credibiluty be the reason why many politicians, including those from Umno and the BN are turning to the blogs? Even former Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek has come up with his own blog with his first posting on media freedom, or the lack of it.
But you and I know that politicians from Pakatan Rakyat have had their blogs much earlier. And they have interacted much better with their constituents.
The minister made this comments after opening a media workshop at Universiti Malaya yesterday. After the opening, it was my turn to speak to the 30-odd journalists from Malaysia and other countries.
My take on this is simple - if the mainstream media remain professional, their credibility will be restored. And one immediate step to help them stay professional is to remove whatever hold politicians have on the media, be it institutional or personal.