The lecture that took place at the local campus, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan was attended by the Dean of the Faculty of Leadership and Management, University of Malaysia Islamic Science , Prof. Dr. Mohd. Yahya Mohamed Ariffin.
Also present were Chairman of the Department of Dawah and Islamic Management Program, Associate Prof Dr Kamaluddin Nurdin Marjuni and a number of other academics.
The Head of Public Relations of Mathlaul Anwar which is a non-government organization in Indonesia began his lecture by asking if Prime Minister Najib Razak suddenly visited USIM, was it a news story or not? The students then answered that it was news.
"If journalists did not report the visit of Prime Minister Najib Razak then it is not news. News is a fact of an event or a fact of an opinion which is constructed by journalists. While the figure of Prime Minister Najib still has a news value," he said.
Writing news should be based on facts and not based on rumors, Aat said, adding that based on experience in the Indonesian, press freedom could be either good or bad for a society.
"In the good side, the press freedom tells transparency and openness in expressing opinions, while in the bad side, when the press freedom comes to uncontrollable rallies, it could result in unstable economic condition and when media coverages go beyon the limit, it could trigger intertribal conflicts," he said.
Aat also explained that in Indonesia there are 12 major media groups that have all channels whether in print, broadcast and online media, in addition to two public media namely TVRI (the Indonesian public television station) and RRI (the Indonesian public radio station).
According to Aat, freedom of the press in Indonesia is protected by Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution, Law Number 9 of 1998 on Freedom of Expression in Public, Law Number 39 of 1999 on Human Rights, Law Number 40 of 1999 on the Press, and Law Number 14 of 2008 on Public information.
At the question and answer session, one of the students asked about ANTARAs coverages of mass rallies to take place on November 4.
In response to that question, Aat Surya Syafaat said the rallies were expected to take place in a safe and peaceful condition, otherwise, investors may not come and tourists may not visit Indonesia.
"Journalists must uphold diversity. Indonesia has ethnic groups of Bugis, Sunda, China and so on. News should be neutral and take side with the truth. It must be independent. Then the news should be derived from clear sources. News should be enlightening, educating and empowering,"he said.
On that occasion, Aat gave motivation to the students that the field of communications offered many good job opportunities both in the field of journalism and public relations, and therefore students must continue to practice writing, photography and broadcasting.(*)