The Malta Independent 23 February 2020, Sunday

‘Media has a role as a catalyst for informing, educating and providing an inclusive voice’

Giulia Magri Wednesday, 7 November 2018, 17:47 Last update: about 2 years ago

The media has an important role of being a catalyst for information, education and to portray an objective inclusive voice, the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, said on Monday.

The President was addressing the conference ‘CSR: business, journalism and society’, organised by the Tumas Fenech Foundation for Education in Journalism (FTFEĠ), in association with The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.

The conference, held at San Anton Palace, was opened by the President and by President Emeritus Ugo Mifsud Bonnici.

President Coleiro Preca addressed the topic of the media and the role of journalism, especially at a time when it is so highly discussed.

 She said that during consultations amongst NGOs and the foundation for wellbeing, many organisations expressed concerns that they were not given sufficient media coverage, for numerous reasons, one being that they cannot afford to hire public relations specialists. She continued that the media must be motivated to be more aware of these issues and that it is actually one of their main roles to contribute.

The President said the media should act as the fourth estate of democracy and must maintain an ethical perspective which respects the dignity of all the members of society. The media’s key responsibility is to help civil society and social development of the country, through means of actively engaging in the community and providing the necessary coverage.

Private sectors, stakeholders and businesses will develop a deeper trust in the media if they are able to showcase their work through the media. The President said that through a united effort between private sectors, stakeholders, businesses and the media, and promoting responsible social actions will contribute to sustainable development.

She reflected that corporate social responsibility has the ability to create constructive links between the private sector and society. The role of the media is necessary to give visibility to this important two-way communication process. Corporations, civil society and the media have the duty to collaborate with one another and to inspire others to follow in social responsibility.

The President said that the media plays as a social conscience not only to civil society but also to the corporations to give back to society and look beyond profits.

She concluded that the Maltese media has a powerful contribution to make by working alongside businesses and Civil Society organisations, to give them the necessary visibility and coverage. A united effort which would empower the Maltese Islands, to end all forms of discrimination by replacing individualism with social consciousness.  

President Emeritus Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, who is the chairman of the Tumas Fenech Foundation for Education in Journalism, said ‘responsibility’ is the keyword.

He said journalism is a significant tool of democracy which, alongside businesses and NGOs also plays a key responsibility in society.  He went on to mention that today one is faced with a heresy, as many businesses work on indulging in profit and individualism; forgetting the importance of social consciousness and corporations. He said that it is the corporations’ duty and responsibility to be aware of their social impact on others and how it impacts society overall. 

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