Netizen 24 MYS: Yoursay: Is RTM worth saving?

By On May 29, 2018

Yoursay: Is RTM worth saving?

YOURSAY | ‘The world has changed; there are better, cheaper ways for the gov’t to disseminate info.’

Gobind wants 'new' RTM within six months

T C Chan: We should have a Malaysian Broadcasting Corporation, which receives a budget from the government but is independent of the government.

We should look at the structure of the UK’s BBC and Australia’s ABC, and modify it to suit us. And have more programmes in other Malaysian languages, if it is viewership the government wants.

Nick Naym: If Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo seriously want RTM to gain credibility, especially with there being so much national interest in a certain court case that might take place in the near future, has he considered televising the court proceedings live?

Gobind could just run a live feed online if he doesn't want to tie up a whole channel. It would obviously be in the interest of all Malaysians to see that such a case is being undertaken fairly. As a bonus, it would hopefully provide an opportunity to re-instil confidence in the judiciary too.

However, it will be very difficult for RTM to compete with commercial channels unless the government is willing to increase their funding substantially. Those willing to pay most in the TV industry will always attract the best, and that will obviously be reflected in the programming.

The Communications and Multimedia Ministry would be wise to also look at where to spend money on digital viewing platforms that are taking over the role of the lonely box in the corner of the room.

There is much more to consider here than content. A full review would be very wise.

Kim Quek: One of the major factors that miraculously transformed Singapore from a racially fragmented third world country to a developed one in just two to three decades was its powerful use of state media â€" particularly the TV channels â€" as tools of education to inculcate the right values into its citizens.

Values such as equality and justice, mutual respect and acceptance of divergence in race and religion, thrift, diligence, discipline and unity. Malaysia can do likewise.

Keep in mind that the overall results of the recent polls notwithstanding, racism and religious extremism have taken root in the country, through decades of errant indoctrination by the previously unscrupulous state-controlled media.

Malaysia will not have long-term stability until the majority embraces moderation and modernity â€" in values as well as physical progress.

I would, therefore, suggest that the Pakatan Harapan government takes this as one of its foremost challenges â€" to enlighten the masses with truth and universal values. And for this, Gobind will have to spearhead the grand march.

Anonymous_d395a08 d: In today’s world where there is a proliferation of online media, even the Singapore government has lost the monopoly on information. It is the same with most other countries.

That's why nudging people to watch government news, let alone that suffused with government values, is going to be difficult.

No doubt in Malaysia, many rural areas still rely on broadcast TV as their main source of information and entertainment. But that's changing too.

If RTM were to be privatised, it would not mean that free TV channels would no longer be available. On the contrary, it would continue to serve, if part of the licensing terms indicates that they be required to broadcast a percentage of social-related matters, not just cheap entertainment.

But times are changing. I'm afraid spending effort and money to reform RTM is just fighting yesterday’s battle.

Plus, I'm doubtful that any state broadcasting channel can instil the right values or educate the masses â€" the more cynical would say brainwash â€" where years of schooling have failed. While kids are ‘forced’ to spend many hours at school, nobody can force them to watch RTM.

Even if RTM can improve its quality, I'm sure it would not be able to match the lure of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, the latest mobile and video games, and who knows what in the future.

No doubt our Communications and Multimedia Ministry still needs a way to get the right information across. But must it cling on to RTM to do the job?

The Eloquent Frog: I think there is certainly a place for a first-rate local TV channel. We can learn from the BBC. But I think we would be better served looking to Al Jazeera, which is more relevant to us, being oriented towards the south and the east.

Al Jazeera is far more involved and passionate about this region and committed to the problems of the world that arise from culture, race and religio n. It is also an actual part of the Islamic dialogue in a way the BBC cannot be. It feels the pulse of the region as its own.

As a bonus, you can avoid many hours spent on fluff like variety game shows and the UK royal wedding.

Quigonbond: Please turn RTM into an Asian BBC, renowned for quality and objectivity. Then please bring BBC into Malaysia again so that young and old can improve our English.

But the larger reform awaits. How to institutionalise the independence of RTM (and the rest of mainstream media)?

Do we need a constitutional reform to entrench this, which means there also needs to be proper appointment process to head RTM, where the minister will only have supervisory power?

Anonymous: But don't we already have enough problems on our plate? Why do we want to set ourselves another challenge by creating a great broadcasting channel?

Private channels, including KiniTV, have been playing a grea t role. Maybe make better use of these instead?

Even the US doesn't have great nationally-funded broadcasting channels (I exclude Voice of America, which is a ‘propaganda tool’ aimed at non-Americans). CNN, Fox and many other established channels there are all privately-owned.

So ask yourself as taxpayer, why do we still want to pay and own a national broadcasting channel that few will watch? Sell it! Let the private owner figures out how to increase viewership.

Unlike the past, the government no longer needs to own broadcasting channels to disseminate its messages. It can tap into various on and offline private channels.

Now almost everyone has access to real-time information through satellite TV, computers, smartphones, etc.

No matter how much more money you throw at RTM, no matter how many more channels RTM can offer, Malaysians will still seek out news and entertainment channels to suit their personal preferences.

Can RTM as a g overnment bureaucracy compete for attention? Let's cut down government spending. Privatise RTM. Perhaps the privatisation proceeds can help towards paying our RM1 trillion debt!

Love Malaysia 2: The BBC is funded by the compulsory licence fee everyone must pay. There are hefty fines if you don't pay and strict enforcement.

The licence fee funding goes only to the BBC as the public service information provider, and there are no commercial adverts. Its constitution ensures that it is entirely free from government interference.

Both the BBC and the commercial TV companies pay for some programmes to be made or they buy programmes produced by independent companies.

This system allows for independent documentary and other specialist companies to sell their products, providing jobs for journalists, scientists, analysts, performers and myriad others.

This improves the quality of the programmes, because in a competitive market onl y the best programmes are bought. Viewer numbers decide what people get to see.

Boring programmes are dropped pretty quickly, because businesses want as many viewers as possible to see their adverts, and in the case of the BBC, they have to remain competitive with commercial TV channels.

But whatever the minister decides on, freedom of expression within the boundaries of the constitution is the most important principle.

Kangkung: People do not watch RTM1 and RTM2 because for the past 60 years, they have been singing the same tune - Umno’s.

I think both channels need to be renamed or rebranded and the whole management changed.

So much taxpayer money has been wasted on these channels, so I hope RTM1 and RTM2 can be revamped and start providing better quality broadcasting, as many Malaysians cannot afford paid TV subscriptions to get good entertainment and real news.

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