《星洲日報》美里印刷推介禮
社長張曉卿演講全文:大馬媒體無法壟斷


星洲日報美里印刷廠的正式啟動與出版,對星洲日報來說,是一件大事,也是一種進步。因為從選址到設計,從動工到印刷,我們動用了最大的心思、智慧和努力。有了古晉和詩巫印刷廠的設計和建設經驗,我們希望美裡的印刷廠,可以集優點於一身,可以在更現代化的設備和專業化的管理中,展現最佳報紙的風格和特質。

一切美好的構思和願望,只有一個目的,那就是,我們希望更好、更全面的服務北砂的讀者,我們希望提昇服務的效率和品質,我們也希望擴大服務的範圍,並誓言以最快的速度,把最好的報紙送到美里、汶萊、林夢和馬魯帝讀者的手中。今天,當我們以無比愉悅的心情為北砂讀者帶來好消息的時候,我也真誠的希望北砂的讀者們,可以清楚看到星洲日報維護社會正義和捍衛新聞自由的用心和誠意,可以真切感受到星洲日報發揚民族文化和維護民族尊嚴所付出的代價和決心。

我們從風雨中走過來,也從失敗中站起來。我們勇敢的為華社請命和發言,我們親切的關懷社會的貧弱和不幸,我們也真誠的傾聽讀者的要求和心聲。星洲的進取和爭氣,不應該理解為野心和壟斷。說一句真心話,在辦報的路途上,沒有太多的喜悅和滿足,只有更多的承擔和責任。我常常告訴自己,雖然我們面對人生的短暫和事業的無常,但是,在人生有限的歲月和能力中,我們必須勇往直前,我們必須全情投入。我們必須追求永恆的進步。

傳媒主導權易位

21世紀,是地球村的年代,也是全球化的年代。新科技帶來驚心動魂的變化,讓大家生活的更加便利、活潑和多元。特別是媒體,如報紙、雜誌、廣播和電視,在新科技的影響下,早已經產生了巨大的革命。而網路、手機的興起,電腦統合了知識,手機成為新載體的新科技潮流中,更是叫人驚嘆又驚喜。

在新科技新媒體的影響和衝擊下,傳媒主導權,已經易位,並深深的掌握在每一個使用者的手上,因為輿論不能再獨斷,知識不能再壟斷;因為資訊如水,可以自由流動。

媒體大亨梅鐸曾經說過:“網路時代的來臨,代表著以往媒體大亨的終結,權力正從20世紀的媒體主編群及執行長這些傳播業傳統菁英階層的手中,移轉到21世紀的部落格格主手裡。”

今天的媒體,正遭逢前所未有的競爭。因為新興媒體,正強烈的挑戰著傳統媒體;也正以速度、廣度和熱度,並兼具互動和生動,吸引了無數的閱聽人。所以,平面媒體在遭受存亡的挑戰中,只有求新求變,只有在新聞之外,強化議題、強化深度、取長補短。

新科技引媒體生存戰

新科技的震盪,因而引發了媒體的生存戰。為了強化競爭力,媒體紛紛“集團化”、“集約化”和“國際化”,並試著站穩腳步,迎接新時代。

一場前所未有的媒體戰正在開打,各種媒體以自己的特色展開競爭。這是一場激戰,但是,有人質疑,“媒體集團化”是一種“壟斷”,也因此擔心言論失去自由,憂心言論成為“一言堂”。事實上,“壟斷”這兩個字,早已經受到“新科技”和“全球化”的挑戰;“壟斷”這兩個字,也早在數位化時代、網路部落格時代、手機新媒體時代,有了新的注解。因為人人在網路上都是作者,都是編者,也都是出版者。

所以,資訊如水,誰能壟斷?

2005年,中國手機簡訊超過3041億條。2006年,中國政府感受到手機簡訊是帶著翅膀的資訊,自由飛翔,正準備研擬控制法規。五年前,馬來西亞,也出現點名“星洲媒體集團”,成了攻擊“媒體壟斷”的聲音。這些批評指責“媒體壟斷”的聲音,是透過網站和報紙傳送出來的。如果真有“壟斷”,這些聲音又何以能夠出現呢?

個人成為歷史主角

時代不停的在改變。2005年,有一本國際暢銷書“世界是平的”(The World is Flat),作者是《紐約時報》記者馬斯‧佛里曼(Friedman, Thomas L.),他認為撼動世界的,不再是跨國公司或國際組織,而是個人在新的世界運作中重新成為歷史的主角。

面對全球新趨勢,星洲媒體集團和所有的讀者一樣,希望在新科技、新挑戰的潮流中,強化自己的競爭力,並寫下驕人的歷史,讓華人世界,有一個優質的聲音在國際發聲。為了星洲媒體集團化、集約化、國際化,我們於1995年買下了《香港明報》、《亞洲週刊》,並於2000年創辦《柬埔寨星洲日報》。一切的用心和努力,為的是媒體的生存,為的是跨向國際,也為了讓華人的聲音傳向世界。

星洲媒體集團與華人、華社、華校在風雨中同行,是一個陪伴華人走過歷史,建設今天,迎向明日的平面媒體,承載著華人篳路藍縷的記憶,也記錄著大家共同努力,開展未來的決心。

自由市場何來壟斷?

有人擔心馬來西亞媒體被“壟斷”。問題是,星洲媒體集團並不是一個封閉的公司。股權結構是公開的,民眾可以自由買賣。在自由市場,自由競爭下,何來壟斷?

歷史是不等待任何人的。唐朝詩人李白這樣寫過:“兩岸猿聲啼不住,輕舟已過萬重山”。傳統媒體的喧鬧,有如兩岸的猿聲,如果不把握時機,如果沒有看到新媒體的崛起、壯大、普及和超越,如果只是忙於內鬥,而不思如何進步;那麼,新科技媒體就像“輕舟”,一日千里,它不會理會“猿聲的啼叫”。

這是一場媒體的生存戰。為了生存,最重要的是自己的爭氣,自己的提昇和改革。報紙做得好,不怕沒有讀者。當個人在新的世界運作中將重新成為歷史的主角的時候,當新科技、新媒體不斷向傳統媒體發出強烈挑戰的時候,我們更應該明白,今天,真正有能力、有權力、有資格壟斷和主宰報紙命運的是讀者,不是報業的老板。

放眼大馬近年來的報壇興衰概況,又有那一家報紙是在壟斷的困局中被淘汰的呢?如果真有壟斷,為甚麼還有新的報紙出現呢?何況,在自由化的市場中,人人都有成長、壯大和超越的機會。企業買賣很平常。但就是有人刻意轉個方向,刻意搬弄是非,刻意制造對立,並希望有人在不知就裡的情況下,達到瞞騙眾人的目的。你可以自我張揚、自我的神聖化和合理化,但不能以此作為攻擊別人的理由。

台媒體集團化迎戰

台灣的東森媒體集團結合了網路、有線電視、電信、廣播,形成了跨媒體集團。台灣的中時報系更是強化網站,同時,繼跨媒體經營中天電視(CTN)之後,也收購了國民黨的中國廣播公司、中國電視公司、中央電影公司,嘗試走向跨媒體集團。台灣的聯合報系也由母公司併購了子公司《星報》、《民生報》、《經濟日報》、《聯合晚報》,以整合旗下報業,並強化網站,迎接媒體戰。

所以,平面媒體,正面對新科技媒體的強烈衝擊。投資報紙,不再是挖金礦,媒體環境,正面對著翻天覆地的變化。任何的遲疑,不求自強和改變,都可能帶來自我的傷害。

美國報業這些年來,早已面臨前所未有的困境。根據美國發行量調查局(Audit Bureau of Circulations)2005年的調查報告,全美國814家大報,從2004年10月至2005年3月,發行量下降了1.9%。報告還指出,從2001年以來,美國報紙的發行量,平均每年以1%的速度下滑。

報業遇到了寒冬,並不是只發生在美國。全球報業都在新科技新媒體的衝擊下,面對嚴峻的考驗。但如何克服困境,重新再出發,正考驗著全球報業的未來。

為了追求美好的夢想,星洲媒體集團願意接受挑戰,願意繼續參與報業投資。我們為的是要傳承與發揚中華文化的使命,要發揮民營媒體的功能。我們也期許在這項傳統與新科技的媒體戰爭中,以優質的報紙媒體,成為馬來西亞華人的喉舌,不但為馬來西亞發聲,也為全球華人發言。

詩聖杜甫在《登樓》一詩中寫到:“萬方多難此登臨”,這正是星洲媒體集團的寫照。作為報業從業人員,我們深深知道,未來要面對的挑戰還很多。但是,挑戰讓我們進步,我們歡迎挑戰,我們將繼續競競業業的努力,除了將士用命之外,我們更需要讀者繼續支持,跨越困境,迎向美麗的夏日,這是身處赤道華人天生的性格與決心。

說出辦報的心聲和傳統平面媒體報紙所面對的挑戰,我希望可以和北砂的讀者們一起交流和勉勵,也就教於在座的華社領袖和精英,並為今後傳統媒體的再生和再發展,建立更多的互動、信賴和合作。




Tiong Refutes Accusations Of Monopoly

■ Sin Chew Daily's new printing plant in Miri.
■ Tiong (centre) officiating the Miri plant.
The official launch of Sin Chew Daily's printing plant in Miri is a major step forward for Sin Chew. We have drawn from our experience in the design and construction of our printing plants in Kuching and Sibu to implement the best practices in the building of the Miri plant. From site selection to plant design, from construction to printing operations, no effort has been spared. With more modern equipment under professional management, the Miri plant will help Sin Chew maintain its status as a leading newspaper.

Our aspirations and efforts have but one purpose, that is to provide readers in northern Sarawak an improved and comprehensive level of service. We aim to raise the efficiency and quality of service, as well as expand the scope of our services, to deliver Sin Chew Daily to readers in Miri, Brunei, Limbang and Marudi within the shortest possible time. Today, as we celebrate the opening of the plant with our readers in northern Sarawak, we hope our readers will recognise the sincere efforts made by Sin Chew in upholding social justice and championing freedom of the press as well as see the determination and contribution of Sin Chew in promoting the Chinese culture and protecting the dignity of the community.

The history of Sin Chew has not always been smooth and it has to overcome many adversities in the course of its development. Sin Chew has been a voice for the community, speaking up on issues of common concern. It has worked hard to care for the poor and disadvantaged members of the society. It pays genuine attention to the demands and aspirations of its readers. Such efforts should not be seen as actions driven by ambition and monopolism. To be honest, in the course of my involvement in the newspaper industry, there have not been many occasions of joy and contentment, but rather more burden and responsibilities. I often tell myself, although we face impermanence in life and the uncertainty in business, we must give our all. We must strive to continually improve.

The 21st century is the age of globalisation, heralding the arrival of the "Global Village." New technologies are bringing about exhilarating changes, bringing convenience, excitement and variety to the lives of the people. This is especially so in the case in media, such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television broadcasting, where a major revolution has already begun. New technological trends such as growing pervasiveness of the Internet and mobile devices, the computer as a consolidated repository of knowledge, and the development of mobile phones as a delivery medium for data, has caused even more wonderment and delight.

With the influence and impact of new technologies and new media, there has been a shift in power; the dominant force in media is now in the hands of the users. This is because public opinion cannot be controlled and knowledge cannot be monopolised; information has become like water, flowing freely.

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch once said: "The coming of the Internet age means the end of the media barons of the past; power has moved from the hands of the old elite - the editors and the chief executives - to the hands of bloggers in the 21st century."

The media industry today is facing unprecedented competition. New media is presenting a strong challenge to traditional media; it has attracted countless readers and users through its speed, breadth and usability, coupled with its interactivity and vivid nature. Therefore, as traditional media faces a life and death struggle, it needs to reinvent itself, to look beyond news, to strengthen the breadth and depth of its coverage, such that it can offset its shortcomings.

The impact from new technologies has led to a battle for the survival of the media industry. To be more competitive, the media industry has undergone corporatisation, consolidation and globalisation, in order to strengthen itself to face the challenges of the new age.

An unprecedented war of the media industry is being carried out, with each type of media competing based on their own traits. This is a fierce battle, but some people wonder, is "media consolidation" not a form of "monopolisation"? They worry about the loss of free speech, and are concerned that there will be a gradual loss of competing viewpoints. In actual fact, the concept of "monopoly" has long been challenged by new technologies and globalisation; "monopoly" has been redefined in the digital era, the age of bloggers, and new media on mobile phones. Everyone can be an author or an editor or a publisher on the web.

Therefore, when information becomes like water, can anyone monopolise it?

In 2005, more than three trillion SMS messages were sent in China. In 2006, the Chinese government became aware that SMS was like information with "wings"; it could fly freely. It began to draft regulations to control its use. Five years earlier, there were also voices in Malaysia that condemned Sin Chew Media as a "media monopoly." Such criticisms accusing Sin Chew of being a media monopoly came from websites and newspapers. If there really was a monopoly, would it have been possible for these voices to be heard?

We live in an age of constant change. In 2005, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote a bestseller called "The World is Flat." He felt that in this new era, the power to influence the world will no longer lie with multinational corporations or international organisations, but rather with individuals who will reclaim their role as actors of history in the new world order.

In the face of global trends, Sin Chew Media, like all its readers, hopes to improve its competitiveness and excel amidst this tide of new technologies and new challenges, to allow it to be a leading voice for the Chinese-speaking world on the international stage. As part of this wave of corporatisation, consolidation and globalisation, we acquired Ming Pao and Yazhou Zhoukan in 1995, and we established Cambodia Sin Chew Daily in 2000. The objectives of these efforts were to ensure the viability of Sin Chew, to internationalise, and to allow the voice of the Chinese community to be heard around the world.

Sin Chew Media has stood side by side with the Chinese community, associations and schools through various hardships. It is a newspaper that has accompanied the Chinese community on its past journeys, that is building the present, and that is welcoming the future. It carries within it the memories of pioneering hardships, and it is also a record of the joint efforts of the community as well as its determination to forge a good future for itself.

There are some who worry that the media in Malaysia is being "monopolised." The question is, Sin Chew Media is not a "closed off" company. Its shareholding is public, and its shares can be freely traded. In a free market, where there is free competition, how can there be monopoly?

History waits for no one. The Tang poet Li Bai, wrote in his poem "Departure of the Emperor at Dawn": "Amidst the incessant cries of monkeys on either bank, my skiff darted past by ten thousand mountain peaks." The noise of the traditional media is like the cries of the monkeys on both banks of the river; if one does not grasp the opportunity, if one fails to understand the development and growth of new media and its ability to surpass traditional media, if one is only engrossed in internal struggles and fails to think how to improve, then the new media will be like the "skiff" in the poem, that will travel a thousand miles a day, without heeding the "cries of monkeys."

This is a struggle for survival. In order to survive, what is crucial is one's own desire to do better, to upgrade oneself and to innovate. If a newspaper is done well, one needs not worry that there will be no readers. As individuals retake their role as actors in history in the new world order, when new technologies and new media continue to strongly challenge traditional media, we should understand even more that in today's world, it is the readers who truly have the ability, the power and the criteria to monopolise and dictate the destiny of a newspaper and not the boss of the newspaper.

Looking at the situation of the media industry in Malaysia in recent years, has there been any newspaper that has been squeezed out due to monopolistic practices? If there was really monopoly, how could have there been new newspapers coming into the market? Furthermore, in a free market, everyone has the opportunity to grow, to strengthen and to overtake the competitors. Company acquisitions are common. Yet there are people who deliberately spin the facts, who sow discord and create conflict, and seek to achieve their goals by deceiving the public who may not be aware of the truth. One can self-aggrandise, self-sanctify and self-justify, but one must not use such methods to attack others.

The Eastern Multimedia Group in Taiwan combines Internet, cable television, telecommunications and broadcasting to form a pan-media group. The China Times Group in Taiwan has greatly strengthened its online presence, while at the same time crossing media to operate the CTN cable channel. It also acquired Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC), China Television Company (CTV) and the Central Motion Pictures Corp (CMPC) from the KMT in its move towards becoming a pan-media group. The United Daily News group in Taiwan has also acquired Star News, Min Sheng Daily, Economic Daily News and United Evening News, consolidating the news operations under its banner and strengthening its websites in anticipation of the media war.

Therefore, print media is reeling under the strong impact of new technologies and new media. An investment in a newspaper is no longer a goldmine. The media environment is undergoing earthshaking changes. Any hesitancy or lack of resolve in improving and changing will result in great setbacks to oneself.

Over the past few years, the American newspaper industry has been facing unprecedented difficulties. According to the 2005 survey report of the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the circulation of 814 major newspapers in the US dropped by 1.9% from October 2004 to March 2005. The report also showed that since 2001, the circulation of US newspapers fell at an average rate of 1% per year.

It is not just in America that newspapers are facing such a grim prospect. Newspapers around the world are all facing the same situation under the onslaught of new technology and new media. How the industry overcomes the challenges, and redefines and reinvents itself will determine the future of global newspaper industry.

Sin Chew Media is willing to take up the challenge to create a better future, and continue to invest in newspaper operations. Our mission is to pass on and promote the Chinese culture to fulfil our responsibility as a newspaper of the people. In this media war between traditional and new media, we will strive to be the voice of the Malaysian Chinese community by becoming the premier newspaper, not only speaking out for Malaysia but also for all ethnic Chinese around the world.

Du Fu, one of China's greatest poets, wrote in his poem "From An Upper Storey": "For I see, from this high vantage, worries are everywhere." It is precisely this situation that Sin Chew Media finds itself in now. As a media business, we are well aware of the numerous challenges which we have to face in the future. However, we should welcome such challenges, as they help us improve ourselves. We will continue to work hard to the best of our ability. Other than performing our duties conscientiously, we need the support of our readers to help us overcome these difficult times to move ahead towards a better future.

By sharing my thoughts on running a newspaper and the challenges we face in the traditional print media, I hope to have an exchange of views with readers in northern Sarawak. Through this, I also hope to seek the advice of Chinese community leaders and elites who are present here today, such that more interaction, trust and cooperation can be established for our future development.

Finally, I would like to wish everyone here good health and success.