This year's National Journalists Day (HAWANA) celebration has created history as for the first time media practitioners were granted the opportunity to deliver Friday’s sermon at three selected mosques in the state.
Yesterday, the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah gave his consent for three media practitioners in the state to deliver the sermon in conjunction with HAWANA 2023.
Perak Sinar Harian head journalist Saifullah Ahmad, 38, who hails from Bagan Datuk, said he was deeply touched by the honour of a lifetime which is a major moment in his more than 15 years of experience as a journalist.
Saifullah said the opportunity was the highest recognition for media practitioners in the country, adding appreciation should also be given to all practitioners who are at the forefront of delivering authentic news and accurate information to the people for their sacrifices.
"The duty as conveyors of news to the community must be done responsibly based on Islamic values so that the deed is accepted as an act of worship and rewarded by Allah SWT," he told Bernama.
Meanwhile, Perak Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) programme producer Muhamad Fahmi Mohd Nor, 30, who is from Bota, said for preparations he repeatedly checked the prepared sermon text and consulted with several ustaz to ensure he delivers it smoothly.
"This is the most valuable experience in my life because it is not easy to get an opportunity like this. When given a stage like this, I take it as a trust to represent my department and practitioners from all over the country so that the public can understand the role and challenges faced by journalists," he said.
Meanwhile, Berita Harian’s religion and literary editor Mohd Nazmi Yaakub who hails from Kota Bharu, Kelantan shared that when he stepped on the mimbar (a pulpit in the form of short steps where the imam stands to deliver sermon), he surrendered totally to Allah SWT.
“We carry out the task (reading the text) not only for ourselves but also for our fellow media practitioners and the community," he said.
Saifullah delivered the text at the Sultan Azlan Shah Mosque, Muhamad Fahmi at the Muhibbuddin Shah Mosque, and Mohd Nazmi read the sermon at the state mosque (Sultan Idris Shah II Mosque).
According to the sermon, titled 'Journalism: Accomplishing Tasks Based on Islamic Values' journalists carry out the duties entrusted to them honestly, sincerely, and guided by good manners based on Islamic values, including being open, fair and equitable, balanced, without being defamatory so that their job is accepted as an act of worship.
It said practitioners must check and verify the validity of the information they receive, as practised by scholars when narrating hadiths by ensuring the source and validity.
"(Journalists) are taking the responsibility to help develop a country that is peaceful and prosperous, independent and sovereign, whose people are strongly united, highly unified, living in harmony and peace, in the spirit of goodwill and mutual respect despite different religious beliefs and various racial backgrounds," read the text.
The HAWANA 2023 celebration will be held here from May 27 to 29 with the theme Media Bebas, Tunjang Demokrasi (Free Media, Pillar of Democracy) to re-emphasise the issue of media freedom for journalists in carrying out their duties.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is scheduled to grace the highlight of the celebration on May 28.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency