GE-13: Online Media provides the most even-handed coverage

April 24, 2013

GE-13: Online Media provides the most even-handed coverage


The online media provides the most even-handed coverage of the elections in the first week after the parliament was dissolved, according to a study. It gave BN only slightly more coverage than Pakatan Rakyat parties, and also uses the neutral tone most frequently.


When the coverage are categorised as either positive, neutral, negative, or attacking in tone, both BN and Pakatan Rakyat received roughly equal amounts of each of the for types of coverage, except that Pakatan Rakyat had slightly more of the neutral articles.

“They are the most even-handed in their coverage of political parties and coalitions of the four media types analysed,” says the preliminary report of the study jointly conducted by the University of Nottingham and the media watchdog NGO, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ).

Of the 26 media outlets analysed in their ‘Watching the Watchdog’ study, only two are from the online press, namely Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider.

NONEThe other media categories being monitored are newspapers, television, and national news agency Bernama, but does not offer a breakdown of the performance of each media outlet.

Taken as a whole however, the overall trend is still to give BN the most coverage, as well as the most favourable coverage.  This would deprive citizens of fair and objective information about the political parties taking part in the election, the report says.

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

NONE“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 Pakatan Rakyat,” it said.

The report also found that newspapers also carry the much of the political coverage to both praise and to attack BN.

Diversity of the 16 media outlets

This is likely due to the diversity of the 16 media outlets included in the category, including among others, New Straits Times and theSun for the English press, Utusan Malaysia and Sinar Harian in the Malay press, Sin Chew Daily and Oriental Daily in the Chinese press, and Makkal Osai in the Tamil press.

As for Bernama, which is under the Information Ministry, 62 percent of its political coverage is for BN. Of all its positive report, 91 percent benefit BN, whereas Pakatan Rakyat received most of its negative reports.

The study was conducted between April 7, which is four days after the parliament dissolved, until April 15, which is five days before nomination day.

The study will continue to run until May 7, which is two days after polling day.

5 thoughts on “GE-13: Online Media provides the most even-handed coverage

  1. This is nothing startling. We know the mainstream media is pro-UMNO-BN. The ruling coalition also controls the air waves with TVI, TV3, RTM as instruments of propaganda. Is that fair? You can yell till the cows come home, nothing will change in this regard. Opposition parties have to use online and social media to get their message across to the voting public. Free and independent media does not exist here.–Din Merican

  2. Good portrayal by CIJ and Nortingham Uni, breaking down the medias leanings. We already know that our main stream media is controlled and freedom of opinion is negated nearly all the time. When can we have independence for the media.

  3. Free media? Nah.., we have to pay through our nasal cavities to the leeches in Telcos, run by cronies. Independent media? Nah.., we are bound by propriety and decency. Can’t use vulgarities unless suitably ‘acronymned’, like SNAFU.

    Yup, Uni Nottingham’s research is the pits.. Empirical research akin to remote sensing and recruitment of bacterial waste products. Wait..! Isn’t it the alma mater of the Jibs? That figures.

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