KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 (Bernama) -- Today, the Malaysian National News Agency
(Bernama) celebrates its 44th anniversary.
Bernama started with humble beginnings in 1968 as a news provider to a
handful of print and electronic media that existed then.
Today Bernama is a premier media organisation with its own portal
(Bernama.com), television news channel (Bernama TV) (1998), and a radio network
(Radio 24) (2007).
To provide comprehensive coverage, the agency has bureaus in all states
within Malaysia and correspondents stationed in Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, New
Delhi, Beijing, and stringers in London, Washington and Melbourne.
Using state of the art IT technology, Bernama delivers general, sports,
entertainment, photos and economic news, and screen based real time financial
information services to subscribers.
Being the pioneer in adopting IT in newsroom, Bernama through its wealth of
technical know-how develops and markets e-commerce and content solutions to
various sectors through its wholly owned subsidiary Bernama Systems and
Solutions Advisor (Bessar).
And being a prominent organisation in the field of journalism and its vast
experience, Bernama embarked on a mission of training journalists through
Bernama School of Journalism, in 2011.
VISION AND PRAGMATISM
Helmed by people with vision and pragmatism, Bernama constantly reinvents
itself to stay relevant in a highly challenging media landscape of today.
The competitors are no longer the established print and electronic media
only but the new media that has changed the rules of the game.
Remarkably, Bernama has survived the onslaught and emerged more resilient as
the media that the public and other media can rely on.
Bernama''s chairman Datuk Abdul Rahman Sulaiman describes Bernama''s
achievement and its own progress over the last 44 years as something to be proud
Abdul Rahman has a strong sense of belonging to Bernama as he is one of
those whose literally grew up with Bernama. He is proud of the fact that he has
seen through many of the milestones achieved by the organisation.
Abdul Rahman started as a journalist with RTM and switched to Bernama in
1971. He rose through the ranks and left Bernama as the editor in chief before
returning to the organisation later as the chairman.
AN ACTIVE PLAYER IN THE REGIONAL LEVEL
Bernama also plays an active role in media forums at the regional and
international stage. The agency represents Malaysia in such forums and thus
plays an important role in putting forth the country’s stand in matters relating
The agency has entered into bilateral cooperation with its neighbouring
counterpart, Indonesia’s Antara, to facilitate news exchange and foster greater
understanding between both sides.
Bernama also represents the country in multilateral forums like the
Organization of Asia Pacific News Agency (OANA).
"We are the only agency in this region active at the regional level though
many started way before Bernama, for example Japan’s Kyodo News. In fact we can
say that we are equally active like Xinhua," says the former editor-in-chief of
REMAINING FOCUSED ON IS CORE ACTIVITY
Abdul Rahman notes that Bernama has managed to play its role professionally
in disseminating news and information fast, accurate and in the right
perspective unlike many of its counterparts in developing nations seen as the
official government mouthpiece.
Bernama does is best to provide the best coverage for the governing party
and the opposition on matters of high news value but it cannot satisfy everyone
due to the varying expectation of the end users.
"This is in line with Bernama Act approved by the Parliament that guarantees
free and fair news coverage. This is what differentiates us with other news
agencies in developing nations," he elaborates.
BERNAMA’S PROGRESS AND RELEVANCE
What is important is that Bernama maintains its position as the premier news
agency that is relevant with times.
"We move in tandem with the changing times and the aspirations of the
audience. In 1984, we were the first media entity in the country to adopt the
use of computer, even ahead of the newspapers. In short, in technological terms
we are always up to date," he adds.
The challenge now is continuing as a premier news agency in Asia as the
region emerges as a centrepiece for the economic and trade development in the
WANTS TO SEE MORE DEDICATED JOURNALISTS
As a former journalist who has been in the field for a long time, Abdul
Rahman observes that the media world is constantly undergoing transformation in
line with the changing global environment.
He also sees the change in attitude among media practitioners that does not
augur well for the profession.
"Honestly, I must tell you that it is not only happening in Bernama, it is
the same in any news organisation. Times have changed, the journalist of
yesteryears were far dedicated and committed to their vocation. Journalism was
seen as a way of life,” he recalls.
"However, from the professionalism viewpoint, nothing much had changed as
media practitioners are still tied with ethics and laws.
"I myself opted to be a media man as I wanted to contribute to the country.
It was akin to a war cry to me in helping to develop the nation," he says.
He hopes that the current generation of media practitioners will serve with
commitment and appreciate the struggles underwent by their predecessors.
Abdul Rahman advises the media practitioners in general and those in Bernama
in particular to keep improving themselves consistently by reading more. Reading
and keeping up with the latest developments is the secret of success of any
Only then they can be considered as those with knowledge and are qualified
to share what they know with the public.
NUH PR CR