Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
CIJ’s Vision The Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia (CIJ) is a non-profit organisation that aspires for a society that is democratic, just and free where all peoples will enjoy free media and the freedom to express, seek, and impart information.
Background In response to the 1998 political crisis in Malaysia, a group of five journalists, writers and activists started a project to fill in the demand for critical analysis of the political issues confronting the public. They created a website, saksi.com (“saksi” is Malay for “witness”), which grew to become an important source of analytical and independent information. The strong and positive response to the website prompted the group to register as an organisation to carry out an independent news/content provider project. Thus, the Centre for Independent Journalism was born.
CIJ’s independent radio project RadiQRadio was implemented soon after and had at its peak a staff of 12 who contributed to the fledgling alternative media scene. In early 2003, CIJ explored different ways of broadening the scope of disseminating news across Malaysia. This included collaboration with an Indonesian radio station in Dumai for cross-border transmission. However, technical difficulties and the limited management experience of CIJ in running such a station posed insurmountable, and this particular project was discontinued.
Nevertheless, at the same time CIJ was moving into new, much-needed activities to improve journalism standards and press freedom in Malaysia. The organisation is the leading group in media freedom advocacy and other freedom of expression issues in Malaysia.
Areas of Work CIJ actively advocates for a broader space for expression and views, and openness of information in Malaysia. We constantly give our perspectives to issues in regards to freedom of expression, media freedom and ethical journalism through press statements, articles, and an annual review on the Malaysian situation. We campaign for the repeal of restrictive laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Official Secrets Act and against additional legislative curbs on media freedom. CIJ attempts to raise public awareness on the values of freedom of expression, press freedom and freedom of information by organising and giving talks on these subjects. One of our signature events is the annual celebration of the World Press Freedom Day on May 3. We actively support grassroots media through our citizen radio project and training on podcasts, previously hosted at Radiq.net, to ensure that marginalised community voices are disseminated out there.
We also engage stakeholders, including local and international civil society groups, journalists, academics and lawmakers, to build a strong network for mutual collaboration on free expression. In summary, CIJ strives to fulfill the following objectives:
Promote and defend the exercise of freedom of expression Ensure good policies and advocating legislative change Raise public awareness on freedom of expression/information to mobilise support for media freedom, expression and access to information Facilitating marginalised voices through community media