Malaysia: Journalism students find inspiration in humanitarian storytelling
The hallmark of a good journalist is the ability to remain neutral in their reporting and avoid causing harm to others while fulfilling their professional duty of telling the truth.
Although they work in different fields, humanitarian workers are not very different from journalists as they also abide by a similar code of ethics. This was the observation that winners of the recently concluded 2022 Young Humanitarian Journalists Competition (YHJC) shared.
The competition, now in its eighth year, emphasized on humanitarian reporting and encouraged aspiring journalists to proactively seek story angles that can create positive impact in their community and the country.
First prize winner Ummie Najihah Nor Azlan said the experience helped her realize how everyone can contribute to humanitarian action. Ummie's heartwarming report about a Roti John (a local sandwich) seller who helps others selflessly taught her that humanitarian work need not be about grand gestures. "Help can be offered by anyone in any way, be it through their skills, knowledge, time or energy," she said.
Urging participants to look at the world through a humanitarian lens, the competition also pushed them to learn about humanitarian events taking place across the world. Several participants wrote on climate change, given its increasing threat to the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.
Siti Sufea Irdina Shikh Salehuddin, who explored the need for climate adaptation in humanitarian action, won the second prize. The third prize went to Natalhia Mohd Nordin, who reported on the lack of access to health care and aid for people who identify as LGBTQIA+ during the December 2021 floods in the state of Selangor.
Consolation prize winner Daniel Isqandar Ahmad Bakri affirmed his determination to become a journalist and use the power of reporting to make a difference in the world. Meanwhile, fellow consolation prize winner Nursyazwani Jamil said she had gained a deeper understanding of the humanitarian world through the competition and aspires to join the sector.
The 2022 edition of the competition was co-organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross' (ICRC) regional delegation in Kuala Lumpur and the School of Communication and Media, College of Computing, Informatics and Media, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), with the support of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society.