KUALA LUMPUR, The journalism profession needs to be more intellectual and not merely reporting in nature, so as not to be seen as superficial and looked down upon by the general public, says an expert.

Professor of Social and Intellectual History of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation, International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Murad Merican said every journalist needs to have the ability to write articles that present the concept of an idea to the general public.

He said it needs to be done effectively to form an open discourse, thus building a country that has a society that is intellectually advanced.

"... not only do those ideas need to be discussed at the university level but (they also need to be brought) to the public (because) it is important for the public to know, so this is what we want and want to see journalists at the same level as (the) intellectuals," he said.

He said this when met by reporters after appearing as a panellist at the Journalism, Reform and Society Lecture on 'A Samad Ismail and Haji Muhammad Said: Journalists, Public Intellectuals and Nationalists' here today.

At the same time, he suggested that the government recognise some journalists as public intellectuals, champions for journalism and statesmen, such as A Samad Ismail.

"Why a statesman? In the case of A Samad Ismail, he was involved in the struggle for the independence of Malaysia and Indonesia... He was involved officially or unofficially in negotiating bilateral issues. So can we not see that as the role of a statesman?

"I also would like to suggest the establishment of the A Samad Ismail Chair of Journalism Studies in one of the local journalism schools and to embody his name for a related faculty or centre," he said.

He also called for the history of Malaysian journalism to be taught in local journalism schools and universities to highlight the importance and contribution of journalism to the country.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency