NOTE: As part of the SEA camp, participants are encouraged to write their media memoirs – reflections on how the media has influenced their lives and perspectives, regardless of whether it’s news, television, films, books or even the radio. Through these media memoirs we see how the media can shape us, and appreciate the importance of media literacy in our countries. SEAYSS will be publishing the media memoirs of most – if not all – the participants of 2012′s SEA camp, together with reflections on the state of media literacy in Southeast Asian countries. If you have any thoughts about media literacy in your country, do comment on our articles or email us your thoughts at editor[at]seayouthsayso[dot]com!
“Write a bad article, you might lose your job; write a good article, you might lose your life” – Anonymous.
This is to say how a journalist’s career can affect himself and the people around him. My story is about an old unpublished article written by my father, which was just one among many pieces that he could not bring to the public. It has totally changed my career orientation, which used to be journalism.
When I was little, my father used to be a columnist in charge of local economic news in a local newspaper. Once he came across a case of a local factory that was having some trouble with tax payment. He managed to get all the necessary materials after several weeks to write an insightful article about this. The company found out and tried to approach my father to take the article down and implied that his job would be affected. As far as I remembered, my father finally decided to get it published and the editor approved. But later on, the newspaper received a call from a person who was in the province’s Management Board stating that the article should not be published. The possible consequences of not doing this would affect the chief editor of the newspaper. Thus, at the last minute, it was canceled.
Growing up and thinking back about how hard my father worked to finish a good article and knowing all those efforts amounted to nothing, I began to seriously consider my intention to become a journalist in my country. The current situation is such that even when you discover an issue which you feel should be made know, it may not be published despite your efforts to get all the information together. I decided not to pursue journalism anymore. I cannot stand the thought that I cannot even raise my voice, let alone take follow-up actions.
Linking to what I want to do in life, serving the community and working towards social development has always been my passion. When I detect a problem, I tend to go deep down to the root cause and try to solve it from there. So gradually, I have developed my interest towards policy making and implementation processes which allows me to tackle policy change – the basic factor leading to sustainable improvement. This focus, which includes the step of project implementation, also satisfies my thirst of changing things in the short term, which I had hoped to make happen by being a journalist and publishing articles.
So far I am happy with what I have been doing, and thanks to that, I realize there are also a lot of other ways to work towards to what you believe. And of course, I came to realize that you do not need to be a journalism to be able to deliver your messages to the public
Photo caption: Author (front, right) on a field trip during her internship in an NGO in India.