Relieved to read YB Shabery Cheek's assurance (Decision on troubled Bernama TV soon - Rakyat Post, 16 Dec) but the Minister has to decide NOT soon but very, very soon.
|Shabery to the rescue|
Some 180 of my fellow journalists there haven't been paid salaries since October. Shabery is their only hope now for a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. There are bills to pay and school books, uniforms and fees to worry about.
To be fair, BerTV isn't Shabery's baby. Never was. The people responsible for setting up Bernama TV Synergy in those sleepy days of 2008, which lost RM9 million in the first year alone, are long gone (one is Senator now). Bernama, the national news agency, is forced to carry their baby now i.e find money to pay salaries, operations costs, etc (and I was told that the national news agency's finances have dried up because of this).
I agree with Shabery: it's impractical to run a TV program in four languages. And it must find a new business model quickly.
My 2sens on what the Minister should do:
2. Dissolve Bernama TV Synergy (don't forget to pay hutang2 lama to those local production companies, some of which had gone bust because of Synergy's non-payment);
3. Hand over BerTV to Bernama lock, stock and barrel. Absorb all staff; excessive manpower can be deployed to beef up Bernama's dwindling news operations nationwide
4. Launch BerTV's 24-hour ENGLISH news. Focus on breaking news, analyses and opinions, video streaming, etc.
5. Sell content to all local tv channels, free-to-air, satellite and internet-based (even with Awani, Astro would still buy if the news churned out by BerTV is compelling and it should be the case because by now the company would be the national tv-news agency); enter into strategic alliances at regional level
People forget that before Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's 4th Floor came up with the oh-so-brilliant idea of letting a private company use Bernama's sacred name to run a commercial tv station, the national news agency was doing fine with its internal AV unit and mobile studio that had been in operations since the turn of the millenium.
I wrote on BerTV's latest sad state of affairs last week in Dr M's former press sec is new Bernama chief,