SEAPAForum2014Jakarta-MalaysianGE13

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Presentation made to the SEAPA Regional Forum and Workshop on Media Ethics and Elections in Southeast Asia, February 25th, 2014.

Presentation made to the SEAPA Regional Forum and Workshop on Media Ethics and Elections in Southeast Asia, February 25th, 2014.

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  • 1. Dr Tessa Houghton Centre for the Study of Communications & Culture University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
  • 2. If people use the mass media to inform themselves about their society and about the performance of their politicians, and if they use this information to direct their political choices and participation, then inadequate or inaccurate information is liable to result in misconceived political acts.  (Street, 2001: 257)
  • 3. Interpretive Framework Politics is necessarily a heavily mediated process. ● Citizens in complex modern societies learn about their political environment via the media – mediated public spheres. (1) ● Political participation is enabled via information provision. (2) ● Professional journalism – norm of objectivity/balance. Interpretive frame for results: ● Political economic control of Malaysian media ecosystem. ● Socialisation of media personnel in line with this political economic climate. (1) Street, J. (2001). Mass Media, Politics, & Democracy. Basingstoke: Palgrave. (2) Bennett, W. L. (2001). News: The Politics of Illusion. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. [and] Entman, R. (1989). Democracy Without Citizens: Media and the Decay of American Politics.
  • 4. Methodology: Sentence-level quantitative content analysis ● Sentence-level vs. article-level. ● Size of project, objectivity, more detail. ● Coding matrix/units of analysis – 21 categories (+ operators) ● Most important: (1) Party/Coalition; (2) Politician/Political Figure (Mention); (3) Politician/Political Figure (Source) Stories 'coded' were: Within the Malaysian news section/s of the newspapers, including the front page, or were the paper's editorial (if they run one); OR ● From pre-defined 'Malaysian News' areas of the news websites monitored, with 'snapshots' taken at 8pm daily; OR ● Within the TV news broadcasts; AND ● >1/3 about the election, and were news stories as opposed to columns, opinion pieces, letters, etc. (with the exception of the paper's own editorial, if present). ●
  • 5. Based on data collected over 31 days: 7/4/13 – 7/5/13 Sentence-level analysis: Category + Operator [+ Tone] Media Analysed: Nm = (29 – 1) = 28 Tone = (1) Positive (2) Negative (3) Neutral (4)Attacking (5)Attacked Articles identified/analysed: na = 17,000+ Data points Identified/analysed: Nd = 450,000+
  • 6. TONE (positive, negative, neutral, attacking, or attacked) ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Determined based on matching each reference to a media frame or frames, supportable via emotive/descriptive /subjective language/vocabulary utilised by the either the news personnel or the source being quoted/paraphrased. Not based upon coder opinion but on linguistic data. Coders were instructed to 'code as neutral' whenever there was a lack of linguistic data to support a positive/negative or attacking/attacked frame, or whenever they were unsure or conflicted. e.g. Hudud =/= inherently negative. Conservative estimate of bias. 'Political Parties/Coalitions' and 'Politicians/Political Figures (Mentions)' can be attacked by sources, or be covered positively/negatively/neutrally. 'Politicians/Political Figures (Sources)' can attack or speak neutrally.
  • 7. e.g. “PM and BN leader Najib Razak said that PR leader Anwar Ibrahim is a liar and cannot be trusted.” Politician mention = Najib = 1 = attacking Politician mention = Anwar = 1 = attacked Party mention = BN = 1 Party mention = PR = 1 e.g. “BN's recent sex video smear campaign against PAS is a sign of desperation.” Party mention = BN = 1 = negative Party mention = PAS = 1 = neutral
  • 8. Newspapers Media Types/ Languages Television Peninsular Online NTV7 Edition 7 ●TV2 English News Malaysiakini English ●The Malaysian Insider English Bernama East Malaysia ● NST ●The Star ●The Sun ● English Utusan Malaysia ●Sinar Harian ●Harian Metro ● Bahasa Malaysia Oriental Daily ●Sin Chew Jit Poh ●China Press ● Mandarin Borneo Post ●Daily Express ● Utusan Borneo Sarawak ●Utusan Borneo Sabah ● See Hua Daily Sarawak ●See Hua Daily Sabah ● ● TV3 Buletin Utama ●TV1 Berita Nasional ● TV2 Berita Mandarin ●8TV Mandarin News Malaysiakini BM ●The Malaysian Insider BM Bernama English ● ● Bernama BM ● ● n/a N/a
  • 9. Online Bahasa Malaysia 20725 Online English 48783 Televisions Mandarin 8049 Television Bahasa Malaysia 9862 Television English 7478 East Malaysia Print Mandarin 40129 East Malaysia Print Bahasa Malaysia 32253 East Malaysia Print English 52935 Peninsular Print Mandarin 97088 Peninsular Print Bahasa Malaysia 49782 Peninsular Print English 66788 Bernama 16920 0 20000 40000 Data Points 60000 80000 100000 120000
  • 10. Political Parties/Coalitions: Volume of Coverage Publication Group BN PR Ratio (BN : PR) Bernama 58.87 36.69 1 : 0.62 Peninsular Print English 45.95 50.47 1 : 1.10 Peninsular Print Bahasa Malaysia 43.06 53.97 1 : 1.25 Peninsular Print Mandarin 48.32 49.53 1 : 1.02 Television English 51.31 33.47 1 : 0.65 Television Bahasa Malaysia 54.68 32.34 1 : 0.59 Television Mandarin 55.55 36.97 1 : 0.67 East Malaysia Print English 51.62 33.21 1 : 0.64 East Malaysia Print Bahasa Malaysia 62.36 28.28 1 : 0.45 East Malaysia Print Mandarin 48.41 40.46 1 : 0.84 Online English 44.18 48.69 1 : 1.10 Online Bahasa Malaysia 46.33 50 1 : 1.08
  • 11. Political Parties/Coalitions: Tone of Coverage
  • 12. Political Parties/Coalitions: Tone of Coverage Bernama Positive Neutral Independent & Other Negative Attacked Positive Neutral PR Negative Attacked Positive Neutral BN Negative Attacked 0.78 8.49 3.50 4.40 4.24 39.11 75.49 92.86 94.98 52.40 21.01 2.75 0 Coverage Volume 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Online English Positive Independent & Other 0.88 Neutral 8.10 Negative 2.28 Attacked 0.97 Positive PR 40.13 Neutral 49.49 Negative 38.45 Attacked 55.36 Positive BN 58.99 Neutral 42.41 Negative 59.27 Attacked Coverage Volume 43.67 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
  • 13. Politicians/Political Figures: Volume of Coverage Publication Group BN PR Ratio (BN : PR) Bernama 54.6 43.89 1 : 0.80 Peninsular Print English 39.62 57.94 1 : 1.46 Peninsular Print Bahasa Malaysia 27.07 69.96 1 : 2.58 Peninsular Print Mandarin 49.47 47.21 1 : 0.95 Television English 75.52 24.66 1 : 0.33 Television Bahasa Malaysia 70.98 25.41 1 : 0.36 Television Mandarin 67.16 32.24 1 : 0.48 East Malaysia Print English 56.96 37.13 1 : 0.65 East Malaysia Print Bahasa Malaysia 68.61 26.45 1 : 0.39 East Malaysia Print Mandarin 54.28 35.4 1 : 0.65 Online English 47.69 46.68 1 : 0.98 Online Bahasa Malaysia 41.17 49.03 1 : 1.19
  • 14. Politicians/Political Figures: Tone of Coverage
  • 15. Politicians/Political Figures: Tone of Coverage Positive Independent/ Other 0.79 Neutral Bernama 3.05 Negative 0.00 Attacked 0.00 Positive PR 7.11 Neutral 36.84 Negative 92.44 Attacked 94.95 Positive BN 92.09 Neutral 60.11 Negative 7.56 Attacked 5.05 0 Volume Positive Independent/ Other 10 20 30 40 50 60 2.46 Neutral 43.84 Neutral 48.36 Negative 31.60 Attacked 49.48 Positive 53.70 Neutral 45.67 Negative 59.93 Attacked Volume 100 1.30 Positive BN 90 8.47 Attacked PR 80 Online English 5.97 Negative 70 49.22 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
  • 16. Politicians/Political Figures: Use as Source Publication Group BN PR Ratio (BN : PR) Bernama 66.81 3.19 1 : 0.048 Peninsular Print English 62.48 12.14 1 : 0.19 Peninsular Print Bahasa Malaysia 59.73 14.9 1 : 0.25 Peninsular Print Mandarin 43.1 21.97 1 : 0.51 Television English 73.58 3.68 1 : 0.05 Television Bahasa Malaysia 41.78 9.83 1 : 0.24 Television Mandarin 42.99 9.35 1 : 0.22 East Malaysia Print English 51.35 15.99 1 : 0.31 East Malaysia Print Bahasa Malaysia 65.52 10.3 1 : 0.16 East Malaysia Print Mandarin 51.19 29.9 1 : 0.58 Online English 30.24 34.71 1 : 1.15 Online Bahasa Malaysia 48.37 24.56 1 : 0.51
  • 17. Politicians/Political Figures: Use as Source Bernama 30.01 BN 3.19 66.81 PR Independent/Other Online English 30.24 35.05 BN PR 34.71 Independent/Other Online English was the best case scenario for sourcing – and were the only media that used PR as sources (although only slightly) more than BN. Impressive given that they were barred from UMNO press conferences. BUT, when we consider the fact that we were very charitable and classed the EC as independent...
  • 18. Not Watchdogs But Running Dogs... Malaysian citizens were deprived of fair and objective information about the political parties/coalitions and politicians/political figures that/who took part in the 13th Malaysian General Election. ● Exceptions: Online media and Mandarin newspapers. Malaysian citizens who relied on English and Bahasa Malaysia newspapers/television as their media source/s during GE13 (by choice or only options available) were not provided with fair and balanced information with which to construct informed voting preferences. ● “Misconceived political acts” Failure to conform to one of, if not the most basic tenet of professional journalism (the provision of objective or balanced information): ● Dereliction of duty on the part of the Malaysian media/system. Contributes to Malaysia's continuing status as a neo-authoritarian or electoralist as opposed to transitioning to fully democratic state.
  • 19. But... PR control the internet! Old media = dead! PR won popular vote! ● Digital divides – – – – – – qualitative/multiple ~60%+ Malaysians are online Broadband even in urban centres in Malaysia is poor quality/high cost. Voting patterns: rural/older vs. younger/urban Nothing to do with intelligence, everything to do with access to competing ideologies, critical/technological literacy, regime propaganda saturation/artificial economies, and 'media rhythms' or incorporation of media into life/communal consumption, all set against pervasive metadiscourses of stability vs. change. Outlier: PAS's inroads into West Coast Semenanjung – grassroots offline memetic/viral campaigning: tanks, planes, etc.
  • 20. Social networking (& party organs) will set us free? Exists in symbiotic ecosystem with mainstream media: ● Reactive, responsive, drawing upon professional media. ● Traditional journalism still essential to macro- and meso-public spheres – – ● ● ● ● Cyberbalkanisation/splinternet - less engagement across difference is not what Malaysia needs. This goes for both sides of the political spectrum, both guilty of rigid partisan politics and the extension of this to their dealings with the media (banning journalists from PCs) See also facetious arguments re: Harakah, Keadilan, etc. Malaysiakini is usually top news site, but multiple BN-media websites are also highly visited – Sinar Harian was top new site in January 2014 BN know they need to rebrand their media organs and penetrate the online sphere more effectively: The Malay Mail Online... Online sphere is not safe: throttling of Mkini during GE13, BBC blocked, pro-PR FB pages blocked, JAKIM + MCMC threatening to block proShia/anti-hadith content... there is no legislative protection for a free Malaysian internet.
  • 21. Today: “The paint was splashed on the walls as well as Malaysiakini signboard... a dead duck was found inside a cardboard box... left beside the main door. It has a photo of Seputeh member of parliament Teresa Kok taped on it.”
  • 22. Thank you. Dr. Tessa Houghton Centre for the Study of Communications & Culture University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus tessa.houghton@nottingham.edu.my https://www.facebook.com/UNMCCSCC Full paper, including link to all the 'Watching the Watchdog' reports available at: http://bit.ly/ 1fLL3pT