Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Wednesday the media should not be afraid of or feel apologetic in upholding the truth.

He said upholding the truth was a fundamental principle towards ensuring that justice prevailed.

“Hold steadfastly to the principle of truth because the credibility of any institution depends on how strongly the institution upholds the truth,” he said.

“I would like communication technology and channels to be used constructively as instruments upholding the principles of justice by disseminating the truth based on facts,” he said when launching Bernama Web TV at the Prime Minister’s Office, here.

Abdullah reminded that communication technology and channels could be used constructively as well as destructively.

Bernama Web TV can be accessed at the www.bernama-tv.com website. The web version of the 24-hour news channel, available on Astro Channel 502, is provided free-of-charge and can be accessed from around the world.

Abdullah said content or software used to disseminate and “enrich” negative material of a slanderous nature with the motive to cause disunity would surely bring about destruction.

He said the government realised the importance of the effective communication approach in its efforts to introduce various measures to ensure continued national economic growth.

“In times such as this, an effective communication programme will help enhance understanding of the heavy burden the government has to bear and bolster the appreciation of the people towards the sincerity of the government’s efforts to ensure their well-being,” he said.

Abdullah said the introduction of the online version of Bernama TV would enable Malaysians anywhere in the world to follow news on the country real time.

He said the service could help Malaysians, particularly students abroad, to follow developments in the country live.

At the same time, it could enable the world community to know more about Malaysia and follow developments in the country, he said.

“The world economic situation is most challenging today. People around the world are facing the pressures of life.

“The government will continue with determination to ensure that the people have the right understanding and objective evaluation of the government’s responsibility and efforts in handling this challenge,” he said.

The prime minister said he would like Bernama Web TV to be the top choice of Malaysians and the world community in obtaining news on Malaysia accurately and fast.

He said this media communication technology and channel should be utilised to help build a peaceful and progressive nation of a united, law-abiding and prosperous people.

Abdullah said he believed that the 40-year-old Bernama, the Malaysian national news agency, was a matured and experienced media institution which had contributed much towards forging greater unity among the people and had served the nation well.

He congratulated and expressed his appreciation for Bernama for having pioneered efforts to ensure that Malaysians were at the forefront of information technology.

“I am happy with the pioneering effort of Bernama TV in providing for access to news via the Internet. This is definitely a meaningful step forward.

“I extend my congratulations to Bernama TV, the first Malaysian 24-hour news channel, which will now be broadcast to the world via the Internet,” he said.

Also present at the launch were Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad and Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Annuar Zaini.

— BERNAMA