Merger of RTM-Bernama necessary in digital era

It is among the proposals which had been delayed, according to deputy minister

by FARA AISYAH / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The merger of Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) and the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) is necessary in the digital era, said Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith.

He said the merger is among the proposals which had been delayed, including plans for RTM to go fully digital.

“The ministry will continue with the vision and mission of the previous government, and we will be making some improvements and adjustments according to the current needs, especially in facing the challenges of the new digital era.

“There are several innovation plans in the digital era that had been postponed, so we are currently working on them. For example, the RTM and Bernama merger — although it is still in the research stage, I believe it is the best move for the targeted people and society,” Eddin Syazlee told reporters after attending a briefing and meeting with the RTM management for the first time after his appointment in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He stressed that it is too early to decide on major changes by the ministry as it is still studying the reformation plans.

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently reported Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo as saying the merger would enable major cost savings in operating the media organisations, which would be translated into additional funding for innovative and modern content creation.

The merger plan is among the proposals that are being assessed as part of the sixmonth deadline given by Gobind for RTM to transform its services. The grace period ends in December 2018.

“If a merger happens, perhaps the news sector can be sourced out to Bernama, and if that is done, we will be able to reduce costs at RTM and (this) means we will have extra funds for us to spend on content,” Gobind told TMR in an exclusive interview, a month after he was appointed minister.

He said independent parties are currently studying the merger proposal, as well as other options, with firm decisions to be taken based on their reports.

RTM is the country’s premier television (TV) and radio stations operator since 72 years ago. It operates TV channels TV1, TV2, TV Okey, six national radio stations and dozens of localised FM stations throughout the country.

Bernama is the sole local-based wire news agency and it also owns and operates Bernama News Channel or BNC, a 24-hour news channel.