Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
- Segala puji milik Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala. Salawat dan salam kepada Junjungan Besar Nabi Muhammad Salallahu Alai Wassalam para keluarga dan sahabat Baginda.
- Beta bersyukur ke hadrat ILAHI kerana dengan izin dan rahmat dariNya juga, Beta dapat berangkat untuk melansungkan upacara perasmian ‘Conference on Language and Communication in the Media’ pada hari ini.
- I am delighted to be here this evening to officiate at the opening of the ‘International Conference on Language and Communication in the Media’. It is timely that two important aspects relating to the media, namely language and communication, will be discussed at this conference over the next few days.
- Language is a communication tool. The media is the theatre that provides the stage for language to play its communicative role. In most countries, citizens receive the information they need through the media. The media serves as the intermediary that collects information and makes it available to the public. The combination of media and modern technology means that today we have a more informed world population that at any time in history.
- In modern societies the availability of credible information is central to better decision-making by citizens and consumers. In political markets, citizens require information to make informed decisions on the performance of political leaders. In economic markets, consumers require information to sell and buy products. Thus the availability of credible information in a timely manner is a crucial determinant of the efficiency of political and economic markets in modern societies.
- The manner in which language is used to communicate information determines the way that information is perceived. For example, different newspapers or television networks may communicate the same piece of information differently. The way in which information is presented, and sometimes, the emphasis given to certain facts, may give a totally different picture of the true situation. In this way, the media not only disseminates information but can also influence public opinion.
- It is sometimes said that the media has the power to make the innocent appear guilty and the guilty look innocent. It is in a position to build or destroy a nation, to unify or divide its citizens; it can boost international relations or heighten tension between nations; foster better cross cultural understanding or widen the cultural divide between people in different parts of the world. With such power the media has a social responsibility to report facts accurately and fairly, and to handle information in a responsible manner. For example, the media should avoid words or images that incite or praise violence.
- Languages that are widely spoken have added political, commercial, academic and cultural value. Policy makers in many countries favour the adoption of English either as an official language or as a compulsory subject in formal education, because of its perceived economic benefits. Interestingly, Australia is using similar arguments to promote the use of Asian languages, with a view to greater economic participation in the Asia-Pacific region.
- In many developing countries language has become an important consideration in nation-building as countries attempt to create social and political unity especially within multicultural and multilingual environments. In some instances the use of a particular language has been used as the yardstick of patriotism and loyalty. However, over obsession with loyalty to one particular language may come off as discriminatory and lead to dispute. If not addressed properly, this could hinder a nation’s development efforts. In Malaysia, the media, through newspapers and television programmes presented in various languages, has played an important role in uniting the races and creating a peaceful and harmonious nation.
- When Malaysia achieved independence, English was the admin language and the language spoken by the middle class. It was also the medium of instruction in schools. However, as an independent nation Malaysia needed to have an identity of its own. Bahasa Malaysia, the indigenous language of the country, was adopted in 1967 as the country’s official language through the National Language Act. At the same time, other languages spoken by major ethnic communities in the country were allowed to be used and taught in schools. Today, English is recognised as the language of international trade and commerce, and its use as the country’s second language is strongly encouraged.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
- This conference will be addressing and discussing various important aspects on language, communication and the media. It is my hope that participants will be able to achieve the aims of this Conference and act on the new ideas generated from these discussions.
- In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate, it gives me pleasure to officially open the Conference on Language and Communication in the Media.