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Watching the Watchdog: Analysis of media coverage of Malaysian elections

On 20 April 2013, people gather in Permatang Pauh to show support for political party candidates arriving to file their nomination papers for the upcoming general elections
On 20 April 2013, people gather in Permatang Pauh to show support for political party candidates arriving to file their nomination papers for the upcoming general elections

REUTERS/Samsul Said

Malaysia's general election will be held on May 5, 2013. The Watching the Watchdog project monitors coverage from 29 media - newspapers, television news broadcasts, online news sites as well as the national press agency, in four languages (English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, and Tamil), in Sabah and Sarawak as well as in Peninsular Malaysia, during the month spanning April 7 to May 7 2013. It is a collaboration between the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus and the Centre for Independent Journalism.

This is the first release by the monitoring project, focusing on political parties and coalitions only. It is based on data collected over seven days (April 7 to 15 2013) for 26 media/publications.

In scrutinising the GE13 (general election 2013) coverage provided by the most popular and influential Malaysian media, the Watching the Watchdog media monitoring project found that citizens of Malaysia are being deprived of fair and objective information about political parties and coalitions which are taking part in the elections.

Key Results:

• The ruling BN coalition and its parties are given the most coverage overall, often by a significant margin.

• The ruling BN coalition and its parties are given the most favourable coverage overall, often by a significant margin.

• The only news sources which do not conform to the above trends are the online news portals, which give approximately equal quantities and quality of coverage to both BN and PR.

• Newspapers and television news heavily favour BN in terms of both the quantity and quality of coverage devoted to the coalition and its parties.

For further information, watch a recording of the presentation of the findings:



Or download the full report:
malaysia_watching_the_watchdog.pdf (382 KB)

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