Thursday, November 13, 2008

Limitation to mainstream media freedom

Due to the ownership of the media and legislation to control the media, there is almost no freedom to the media. For example, in 1995, an investigative team from The Sun newspaper has investigated the circumstances regarding the deaths of 59 detainees, mostly Bangladeshis, in an illegal immigration detention camp. They died of beri-beri, a symptom of malnutrition and typhoid, which is easily prevented. They have written that this was a case of criminal neglect on the part of the police who ran the camp. The story was however spiked hours before it went to print (Gan, S 2002).

Role of web based media

Because the traditional media reports on biased news, the people turn to alternative media for news instead. Therefore, the online news journalist plays a very significant role in reporting unbiased news to the public. An example of a significant issue that happened in Malaysia was the case of Deputy Anwar Ibrahim getting fired by PM Mahathir Mohamad in September 1998. Thousands of Anwar’s supported rallied at street protests. Anwar’s wife was warned not to address public gathering when Anwar was arrested. The mainstream media did not report much on the situation but new websites like Sang Kancil, Voice of Freedom, Where is Justice and Anwar has took over and fill in the missing information that have been left by the mainstream media (Wang L. K 2001). Besides that, the mainstream media also failed to give full coverage and unbiased news on the BERSIH and HINDRAF rally, but instead the people knew more about the rallies through the internet.


Gan, S 2002, Virtual democracy in Malaysia: Putting press freedom in the front burner, Nieman Reports, Vol. 58, No. 2, pp. 65-67, viewed 21 October 2008,

Wang L. K 2001, Media and Democracy in Malaysia, the Public, Vol. 8, Issue 2, p. 67-88

No comments: