The government has called for media practitioners to also practise high social discipline in the reporting process in a joint effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the request was made following the issue of heavy presence of media practitioners in the mosque during Friday prayer coverage yesterday.

According to him, this was a negative reaction from the people as the government was committed to ensuring that the community adhered to social discipline such as social distancing and personal hygiene.

“Yesterday, there were issues but not related to congregational issues but the issue of media practitioners coming in too close, cramped up and clearly not practising social distancing.

"So, I ask the media practitioners, if they want to make a news report, please comply with every SOP (standard operating procedure) issued including social distancing," he said at a press conference here today.

In addition, Ismail Sabri also urged organisers of a program to provide a suitable place to allow media practitioners to carry out their tasks without neglecting the importance of social discipline.

Meanwhile, National Union of Journalists (NUJ) President Farah Marshita Abdul Patah called for the people not to be quick in condemning the media.

In a post on her Facebook page, Farah Marshita said journalists as ordinary people sometimes forgot to do social distancing in the pursuit of news but this also sometimes happened due to the factors that provided them.

"Some areas provided for reporters are too narrow, some people tried to avoid being interviewed, so we are forced to pursue, some do not allow us to cover, so we are forced to gather in large numbers to plead to be allowed coverage.

“If we are wrong, the rebuke is justified and we accept it with open arms. We did not do this on purpose,” she added.