Info Dept needs to focus on creative writing for greater appeal: Minister

|     Rokiah Mahmud     |

MINISTER at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud, yesterday made a working visit to the Information Department for the official launching of the Information Reference Centre at Level II.

Prior to the launching, the minister listened to a briefing and discussion session on the roles and functions of the Information Department.

In his welcoming address, Acting Director of Information Mawardi bin Haji Mohammad said that the department has already celebrated its 66th anniversary since its debut in 1952.

“Along with the its progress and development, the department has managed to take a step forward and encountered challenges and obstacles in line with its mission to feature images of the monarchy and the country; and as a leading agency in disseminating fast, exact and credible information,” he said.

The acting director also highlighted their recent accomplishment in giving an online platform to Pelita Brunei, enabling it to be accessed daily in digital form or via mobile phone.

“The newspaper also has experience several modifications in terms of its font, layout and columns,” he said. “To boost our readership, a survey is currently being carried out, until the end of January. Feedback from this survey will be used to further improve the quality of the newspaper, while its distribution will be located at more strategic areas to make it more accessible to the public.”

Later, the minister delivered a speech commending the department’s use of social media to convey information to the public, as well as the launching of the mobile application ‘InfoDeptBN’.

He also noted the active use of innovative quality products for a huge impact. “These innovative products are much needed in line with the development and advancement of current technology,” he said. “I appreciate the efforts that have been taken, and hope there will be more innovative elements introduced by the department, in order for our community to be well-informed.”

Apart from the emphasis on innovative market products, the minister also urged the department to focus mainly on the quality of writing, “to ensure that it is neat, well-arranged, easy to understand, attractive to readers and pleasing, without compromising the ethics of journalism and writing, as well as our Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) values.

“Therefore, the department needs to diversify its initiatives and planning programmes, in order to boost the writing quality. The writers need to be equipped with creative, technical and effective writing skills, so that news and feature stories will come across as more attractive, interesting, compact and precise.”

The minister also touched on the department’s role as a link between the government and the public, by providing the latter with comprehensive information regarding any scheme or government policy.

“The Information Department must remain relevant in today’s community, as well being sensitive to changes and updates taking place in the country, be it in the government or private sector,” he said “The department need to work closely and continuously with ministries, departments and private agencies, so that they can identify the latest and current information that is being channelled to the public, including services, initiatives, tenders and projects.”