“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will create better opportunities for both our organizations to work together to improve and expand new media research in Malaysia and beyond,” said Prof. Dr. Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan, Executive Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management, at the MOU signing ceremony between Taylor's School of Media and Communication (SOMAC) and Asia Centre, Thailand that was held on Thursday 8 September 2022 at the Taylor's University Lakeside Campus and witnessed by a hundred students and staffs.
After welcoming distinguished guests Dr. James Gomez, Regional Director of Asia Centre, Thailand and Malaysia; Yang Berusaha Dr. Azmi Sharom, Deputy Chairman of Election Commission of Malaysia; Ms. Joanne Bala, Regional Director of Government Affairs for Malaysia at Google and Ms. Prema Ponnudurai, Head of School, School of Media and Communication. Prof. Neethiahnanthan highlighted how the School of Media and Communication has been engaging in impactful research and public outreach on new media.
SOMAC’s partnership with Asia Centre has been well established with events and project collaborations with regards to the state of journalism in Malaysia through the appointment of SOMAC Senior Lecturer, Dr. Benjamin Loh as an Associate of Asia Centre. Awarded the UN Economic and Social Council’s Special Consultative Status in 2021, Asia Centre continues to be an important knowledge partner in the region by undertaking evidence-based research, convening events, developing toolkits for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), development aid agencies, International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), media workers and policymakers, and amplifying its findings through media on various issues affecting the Asian region.
The main goals of SOMAC’s partnership with Asia Centre will involve:
Collaborating on projects such as conferences, seminars and workshops;
Developing teaching/training programmes, course outlines and materials;
Undertaking joint research and publication projects;
Representing and promoting joint activities and events;
Internship opportunities for Taylor’s University students.
Upon the MOU signing ceremony, to kick-start the objectives of this partnership, the Report Forum "Youth and Disinformation in Malaysia – Strengthening Electoral Integrity" was conducted to discuss the latest report that focused on disinformation targeting Malaysian youth during election campaigns. Reviewing the last five general elections in Malaysia (1999 to 2018), the report identified some recurring patterns of disinformation which included falsehoods relating to sexual orientation, corruption and foreign interference.
SOMAC’s partnership with Asia Centre is a crucial part of learning at Taylor’s University preparing students to be ‘future-ready’ in the job market as well as citizens of the future.