KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 -- Malaysians must do their utmost to save and sustain the print media, said Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
Therefore, they must continue to buy, read and share newspapers, said the social activist.
“We must therefore do our utmost to save and sustain the print media which, for a ringgit or two, brings the world to our doorstep. But who can save it? Ultimately it is the people who can and must, he said in an ‘Opinion’ column published in the New Straits Times (NST) today.
He said the print media could help foster an informed community and nation that is so essential for a vibrant democracy.
There is no denying that newspapers can contribute to a reading culture which needs to be promoted, he said.
Lee, an ardent fan of print journalism, shared he picked up his first newspaper when he joined the workforce 50 years ago.
“I am still happily addicted to this habit of reading the newspaper and cannot remember starting my day without reading at least three newspapers in three languages,” he wrote in the column.
Newspapers have been his daily diet of views, reviews, alerts, advertisement, obituaries, comics and Lat cartoons when they used to appear regularly in the NST.
“Sure, nowadays I also follow the new kid on the block, the electronic media, but it is on the old warhorse and the tabloid newspaper that I rely on for my daily serving of all the news that is fit to print,” he said.
The print media is always accountable as they are careful to separate fact from opinion and their works undergo several layers of checks for accuracy, style and credibility employed by reporters, news editors, sub-editors and production editors.
There is always something for everybody in the newspapers from baby boomers to Gen Z, from current issues to championing non-sensational causes like poverty eradication, social mobility and plight of the underdog.
“They gave voice to the voiceless,” he said.
Newspapers have been a great help in promoting social activism for the betterment of society in general, regardless of race, creed or colour, said Lee.
Bernama previously had reported the deaths of four Malaysian newspapers in less than a year have raised questions about the survival and relevancy of the print media industry in the country.
The Malay Mail English-language daily called it a day in December last year after 122 years, and is now available only online, and the Tamil-language Tamil Nesan newspaper shut down in February this year after having seen print for 94 years.
Earlier this month, the nation’s oldest Malay-language newspaper, Utusan Malaysia called it quits after 80 years in the business. Its sister publication Kosmo! also faced a similar fate.