TechCamp Malaysia goes virtual


PENANG Institute and the United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur have launched the TechCamp Malaysia: Building Trust and Media Literacy in the Digital Age, today with an aim to counter disinformation in the present digital era.


Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who officiated the programme, said the Covid-19 pandemic had made a dent in the original plan, which was to welcome the participation of foreign participants.


“It is appropriate to host the TechCamp via online.


“The crux of the programme is the usage of technology to solve problems,” he said before officiating the programme virtually via live stream at Penang Institute today.


He said that technology has granted the people accessibility to news in a flash.


Chow on live screen during the launching of the TechCamp Malaysia in Penang Institute


“Malaysia and its neighbouring countries have seen a concerning increase in the spread of disinformation and misinformation, especially during Covid-19 pandemic.


“It is crucial that we only consume news that are verified and from reliable sources,” he said.


Chow thanked Penang Institute and the United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur for organising the event.


This is the first time the TechCamp is held in Malaysia.


A programme under the United States Department of State, TechCamp offers hands-on, participant-driven workshops and ongoing impact-oriented programmes that focus on results; with participants identifying real-world issues and working with trainers to apply technology solutions to these challenges.


This year, TechCamp Malaysia aims at bringing together emerging journalists, social media, community and government influencers, as well as members of the tech programming community to engage with trainers on digital technology capacity building.


Chow and Ooi during a press conference


United States ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said it is important to ensure that news are truly verified and reliable when consumed by the public.


“Misinformation and disinformation cannot be tolerated.


“Programmes, such as TechCamp Malaysia, are crucial in order to educate the relevant parties on the importance of only disseminating verified news,” she said.


Penang Institute executive director Datuk Dr Ooi Kee Beng said: “It is the right of the public to consume only real news, and it is the responsibility of the related parties to play their part and disseminate verified news.”


Also present was Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek.


A total of 54 participants took part in the programme. They came from countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.


TechCamp Malaysia is now ongoing, from Oct 6 to 16; with scheduled programmes taking place on Oct 6, 8, 13, 14 and 16.


Participants will attend a series of trainings, design thinking and brainstorming sessions.


Trainers are from the United States, Europe and ASEAN countries.


Story by Kevin Vimal
Pix by Chan Kok Kuan
Video by Law Suun Ting