Media Experts Come Together to Discuss Challenges, Issues in Pandemic World

By Murniati Abu Karim
Photo Ikhwan Hashim

BANGI, 23 November 2021 –Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), organised a three-day International Conference on Media and Communication (MENTION2021).

Themed ‘Media and Communications in the New Norm: Challenges and Global Issues’, the conference brought together speakers and participants from various fields, including mass media, film studies, and education to strengthen ties between academics and industry in the field of communication and media.

The conference, which was held on a full virtual mode was officiated by Minister of Communications and Multimedia Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima TPr Annuar Haji Musa.

According to him, the media has become a primary source of information, and that communication habits have changed dramatically, particularly during this pandemic.

“Unfortunately, as a result of this massive transformation we are seeing new problems and challenges emerge in society. As the pandemic spread, so did a new ‘disease’ of media and communication known as the infodemic.

“The rapid influx of information containing various forms of false news has caused a state of panic among the general public.

“Conspiracy theories arose, sowing seeds of doubt about the COVID-19 virus and vaccine in our society. People are beginning to have doubts about the government, the healthcare system, and science in general.

“Social media became an important outlet for people to express their opinions, and public sentiment monitoring has become a useful tool for assessing public opinion, emotion, and temperament,” he said.

He added that media practitioners and experts play a crucial role to play in managing and addressing these issues.

Also present at the opening ceremony was UKM Vice Chancellor UKM Prof. Dato’ Ts. Dr. Mohd Ekhwan Hj. Toriman.

In his speech, he hoped that the conference provides a better understanding of national and international media communication frameworks in this rapidly changing global environment.

The event also saw the collaboration between UKM and UNICEF in establishing the Communication Centre for Development (C4D) HEALTHCOMM.

Prof. Dato’ Ts. Dr. Mohd Ekhwan, who officiated the centre stated that the HEALTHCOMM will become a regional reference centre in health communication as a result of this collaboration, which will improve the community’s well-being, particularly for the younger generation.