In 1999, Malaysiakini was launched to become the first and most influential online news portal in Malaysia since. Due to the increase demand and to provide variety of news, Malaysiakini launched a project in October 2008 to train citizens to become journalist, hence, making ‘citizen journalism’. Since 2008, in the age of citizen journalism, it acts as an alternative form of major media news source. Citizen journalism defined as “journalism conducted by people who are not professional journalist but who disseminate information using Web sites, blogs and social media.” (Sonny, 2013)
Without doubt, these citizens had to learn the basics of journalism which included ethics in journalism, basic news writing skills and writing fair, accurate and balanced news. Producing fair and balanced video journalism was also stressed upon. However, it can be questioned as to what should be filtered and should not, as stated only occasionally professional journalist follow up on issues reported by citizen journalists.
However, I feel it must also be noted that unlike in the mainstream news media, readers here are very active and critical. This serves as a form of direct check and balance on the citizen journalists. (this is based on my observations from online news portals, seen under the comment columns).
Personally, I feel that though citizen journalism is good in terms of providing a wider range of news for their respected readers, on the other hand, it also could create chaos among the public especially news on sensitive issues if not followed specific rules such as Conduct Code whereby the citizen should self regulate before writing is not strictly observed. Hence, with that said, freedom of speech and responsible journalism go hand in hand said Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) chief executive officer Datuk Chamil Wariya.
“citizen journalism.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2013. <http://www.britannica.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/EBchecked/topic/1271506/citizen-journalism>.
“Citizen journalist not professionals.” The Star. Accessed on 18 April 2013 http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Malaysia/Story/A1Story20111102-308278.html
Kabilan, K. “New Media, Citizen’s journalism and Democracy; The Malaysiakini Project.” Accessed on 18 April 2013 https://vista.uow.edu.au/webct/urw/tp0.lc20663/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct
O’ Donnel, M (2013), ‘The Future Of Journalism‘ Accessed from elearning lecture 7 slides. Viewed on 18 April 2013