By Yasmin Latif
GOMBAK, 24 October 2015: “You can get a wider reach yourself as long as you do it well. You need to put all the effort into making something good and real. Just make sure it’s good, if it’s rubbish people won’t come,” said Uma Ampikaipan, the producer and content creator for BFM 89.9 and for festival Kuala Lumpur that takes place every June.
Uma Ampikaipan was one of the speakers at the National Leadership Symposium 2015 held recently in IIUM campus. His speech was about what the new media can do to shape the ideal Malaysia and to unfold the power of new media in changing our society.
Uma said he noticed that technology has brought about changes in the way the content is now distributed. The ironic part, he said, is that radio being an oldest media is now primarily distributed through internet like the social media; Twitter and Facebook. To utilise the platform, he started to combine radio and social media because social media, according to him, has become the main media vehicle to the people.
Nowadays it is important for the radio station and also any other broadcast media to have their own account in social media. His radio station, Uma said, also made a similar move; the objective is to engage with the listeners through response or feedback.
So he asked, “Is it the media and technology that shape an ideal Malaysia?” He agreed fully that technology gave the biggest impact in shaping our world. While in radio he aimed not just to entertain listeners but to enlighten and educate them. In BFM, he added, they discussed current affairs on issues like social, politic, history, economy and even sciences.
Taking traffic jams as an advantage, he used the radio to engage his listeners to share a lot of information. The aim is for listeners to become more knowledgeable on certain issues and become ‘agents’ to help spread the content they heard over the radio.
However, it’s not just radio, Uma also came out with online show known as Popteevee that sensationalised issues in the form of humour. The rank of feedback they received ranged from “very good” to “very bad” but for him it is an interesting discourse to gauge listeners’ perceptions and to see how Malaysians react to the issues.
Back then, he said, for a long time people were just being passive observers by just listening, watch and read. Social media has played an important role in shaping the ideal Malaysia.
He said society now “no longer a passive observer because with social media they are free to express on anything.”
“This evolution has increased the level of awareness because everybody now has the right to speak up by only own one social media account. We have a power to blame on anything or either to support it or not,” he said.
Uma also said, “To become an ideal Malaysia require us to talk about new ideas that involve argument, but it may be a good landscape in directing which Malaysia we want.”
We can see the constant change in everything including economy, politic and social whereas we are not just receivers but we also can be a giver by expressing our opinion, suggestion and criticism that can lead us to think critically because we no longer “just nod our head but we are also involved.”
However, Uma said, the continuous freedom of media is still unknown but he mentioned it depends on how our government reacts towards that. It is possible for media freedom to exist in our country as long as we unite to address our point of view towards the betterment of future Malaysia.***