IPOH: As dawn heralds the start of the National Journalists’ Day (HAWANA) 2023 today, over 1,000 media practitioners who have gathered here since Friday will eagerly await the day’s highlight - Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s officiating speech this afternoon.

Excitement has been building up since Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil confirmed that the prime minister would make several important announcements regarding the direction of the media industry during this year’s HAWANA celebrations, carrying the theme ‘Media Bebas, Tunjang Demokrasi’.

Anwar will also be presenting the Tabung Kasih@HAWANA aid to three recipients, all veteran journalists, who are suffering from health and other related issues today.

To start off this year’s celebration, there will be several interesting activities in the morning, including a media forum entitled ‘The Future of Media’ jointly organised by the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) and the Tun Abdul Razak Information and Broadcasting Institute.

Over 150 participants, including journalists, correspondents and academicians from Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Japan and Kuwait are expected for the forum, which will be officiated by Fahmi himself.

Celebrations had actually begun yesterday, with the Media Hunt HAWANA, a treasure hunt from Wisma Bernama in Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh involving 120 participants in over 40 vehicles, who were flagged off by Deputy Communications and Digital Minister Teo Ni Ching.

A media bowling championship with around 100 participants from 18 teams also took place yesterday at Ipoh Bowl, Aeon Kinta City here along with the start of a two-day HAWANA 2023 mini carnival with various activities including interactive slots with Bernama personalities, a ‘sayadigital’ pocket talk session and interviews with local artistes and celebrities.

May 29 has been officially gazetted as National Journalists’ Day, as it was the publication date of the first edition of Utusan Melayu, on May 29, 1939.

The HAWANA 2023 celebrations are organised by the Communications and Digital Ministry and implemented by Bernama. - Bernama