RTM-Bernama merger a no-go

Due to strong objections from the staff and management of both organisations, the proposed merger between Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) and Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) to create a government-owned media giant has officially been shelved

Sources state that both state-funded media organisations’ top management and workers’ unions had objected to the proposal.

The merger was proposed by the Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo to reduce costs and remove redundancies.

Both organisations are funded by the government with additional revenues generated from advertising and subscription services.

Despite reassurance from Gobind that all vital aspects such as total workforce, cost and news channels would be looked at fully before any decision was made, employees from both organisations were afraid of heavy job cuts if the merger takes place.

Instead of a full-blown merger, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry may introduce a convergence plan to synchronise the services of RTM and Bernama. A similar convergence strategy had been implemented by Media Prima Bhd.

It is believed that a joint-venture committee chaired by top officials is deliberating on the new initiatives. The ministry remains adamant to improve efficiency and productivity of both media organisations. Another initiative being considered is to form a joint group of journalists focusing on specific sectors, a model practised by media companies in developed economies.

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