June 28, 2018
Malaysiakini is No.1 News Portal in Malaysia: A Profile in Courage
Steven Gan and Premesh Chandran started the online news portal to give Malaysians an unvarnished view of what was happening in the country — the kind people were unable to get from the government-controlled mass media newspapers and TV stations at the time.
The little outlet is now one of Asia’s most influential news sites. But the journey has been perilous. In its two decades of operations, Malaysiakini has been raided by police numerous times, dragged to court and most recently faced the threat of seeing its founders incarcerated for their work.
Yet, it has also won numerous awards for its journalism and has a special place in the hearts of Malaysians the world over. More than 17 million people used the site to track the Malaysian election results on May 9 and a multitude more followed along on social media. Anwar Ibrahim, on his release from prison on May 16, after obtaining a royal pardon, specifically thanked Malaysiakini for its work and its journalism.
Steven Gan and Premesh Chandran of Malaysiakini
Malaysiakini is the most popular media portal in Malaysia, according to the 2018 Reuters Digital News Report presented today at the East-West Center International Media Conference in Singapore.
The annual study of news consumption in various markets showed Malaysiakini ranking first in Malaysia with 44 percent of weekly usage by local users, followed by The Star Online (32 percent) and Berita Harian Online (24 percent).
Media Prima’s TV3 topped the TV, Radio and Print category with a 49 percent weekly usage, followed by The Star (at 31 percent) and Astro Awani (at 29 percent).
International provider Yahoo! News was voted the most trusted brand with a 6.12 overall score.
Media analyst Zaharom Nain, from the University of Nottingham Malaysia, said, “Malaysiakini with 44 percent reach has maintained its reputation for providing independent news and continues to retain the trust of many Malaysians, especially those tired of propaganda.”
Zaharom added that news portals such as Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insight, however, still faced a problem in getting consumers to pay for online news.
He noted that the circulation figures for two Media Prima newspapers – the New Straits Times and Berita Harian – continued to decline due to two reasons they being political alignment and the transition from print to digital consumption.
“They were openly aligned and strongly supportive of the former Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak, at a time when he was embroiled in one major financial scandal after another. This made Media Prima-owned properties become increasingly unpopular with Malaysians.”
The 2018 Reuters Digital News Report also showed that 72 percent of those polled used social media as their source of news while the total percentage of users reading online, including social media, hit 89 percent.