Boohoohoo….. its over

First of all I just wanna say thank you to Ms Rohayu for awarding me the award for most witty blog in the class although I thought my blog post  were more on sarcasm then witty oh well gotta give what the folks want. 

Let’s not get all sentimental now and go all nostalgic now although i know many of my fellow classmates would go all “I remember the first day of class bla bla bla…”. No, but I give my own personal overview of this whole lesson through this entire semester. For one I think this subject has been an eye opener for me most of the issues that were taught in class I would say would never be a common topic to talk about among people unless of course they are communication people like myself. Topic like pinkwashing, journalism life hanging by a thread, how many chinese have to suffer to bring you apple fan boys/girls your iPhones all these topics were interesting eye opener to me (So eye opening that it was a pain searching for additional references). 

Nonetheless the subject pave a way for me to see thing more in depth now (he still sees things rather shallowly) and I never forget what i learn (he already forgotten half of what he wrote) and let me thank Ms Rohayu for being our lecturer for this subject, I couldn’t have asked for a better lecturer than her. 

Adios people, this is Nothisagain final post. kthxbye.

What grows faster? weeds or E-Waste?

For probably the don’t know how many times I have said it but will still say it anyway, technology advancement have advanced far beyond the speed of human reproduction in fact so fast it is scary indeed. Today’s digital devices are made to break or go out of trend in cycles of 12 months (Maxwell & Miller 2012). Which is true take for example my HTC Sensation, it was one of the top phones in 2011 and fast forward to 2013 its considered an ancient dinosaur of a phone already, never mind it was considered an ancient phone by 2012 itself when it was replace by another flagship HTC model. Sure I like the fact that technology is advancing but such growth comes with a price.

Now most of us only see the front of all these advancement but we didn’t really sneak in through the back to see what is actually going on. My guess also that many are not aware of the toxic substances contained in our gadgets we so happily use on a daily basis, we are not aware of those poor souls who have to work with such toxic substances and in hazardous conditions (Maxwell & Miller 2012) just so we can get our gadgets. But the bigger problem here is what happens to your gadgets after they have served their purpose? Do you just throw them out and not think for second what will happened to it?

You know what is faster than technology advancement? E-Waste. According to the EPA, Americans throw out more than two million tons of consumer electronics annually thus making e-waste one of the fastest growing components of the municipal waste stream (Cyr 2007). So that is just America imagine the whole world, how many tons of e-waste can we pile up annually if it was the whole world? As the saying goes another man’s trash is another man’s treasure, some have found opportunities with e-waste as many of those end-of-life electronics item contain valuable elements such as gold, silver, and platinum. However, e-waste still contains a lot of potentially harmful substances such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. Regardless of whether its elements are valuable or potentially hazardous, handling and recovery of e-waste can be a costly undertaking (Gupta 2012). Due to these conditions it has led to intense debate about how e-waste can best be managed.

Personally I believe many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled in an environmentally sound manner so that they are less harmful to the ecosystem. And I think more electronic manufacturer and organization should make their electronics biodegradable. Some claimed their electronic products are biodegradable but that remains to be seen. The world is just barely coping with the huge amount of human population and we are barely coping with the amount of waste we humans can churn out alone and now we have e-waste to share space with? I just don’t think the world will have enough space for it anymore.

Reference

Cyr, C 2007, ‘E-Waste Not’, Plenty Magazine, April/May 2007, p31.

Gupta, P 2012, ‘The Hazardous and Problems of E-Waste Management in India and its Strategies for Better Tomorrow’, Research Journal of Economics & Business Studies, Vol. 1, No. 5, pp10-13

Maxwell, R & Miller, T 2012, Greening the Media, Oxford University Press, United State of America.

Everybody is a critic

Remember that video of Rebecca Black singing the song Friday back in 2011? That got a lot of nasty comments didn’t it? That particular video became viral and so did the comments about the video and the singing as well. This week lecture is about moderating the comments on the internet and I have to say we are all very familiar with the comment box on social media sites to blogs, video and even news portal and probably are guilty of having a one or two nasty comments of ours dwelling somewhere in cyberspace.

An online exchange is where the relative anonymity, weak social ties and the lack of face to face ethical responses are even less inclined to civility (Martin 2012). This explains why we have users who use the comment box very irresponsibly, but is almost impossible for them to do so because they feel they have the freedom to do so because this is the internet. As Martine also explained the need for a new gatekeeper to moderate the online dialogue is because words are just as sharp as knives and if not moderated there will be consequences.

The creation of the online dialogue or also known as the dialogue box is supposed to build mutual understanding, encouraging the construction of personal meaning and ensuring engagement (Bound 2010). That’s one way of putting it but commenting is another way for most to voice out their opinions.  And as Couldry (2009) states that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that no one has the right to make judgement of it regardless it is correct or wrong.

For me I really think online dialogue should be moderated as I myself go many site and I would also read the comments left behind by most internet users. Some comments just anger me even though the content they are commenting isn’t mine and some comments are just down right fact less assumptions. So because cannot tell users to comment responsibly we need gatekeepers to be there to ensure the comments do not blow out of proportion.

Reference

Bound, H 2010, ‘Developing Quality Online Dialogue: Dialogue Inquiry’, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 107 – 119

Couldry, N 2009, ‘Rethinking the politics of voice’, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Vol.23, No.4, pp. 579 – 582

Martin, F 2012, ‘Vox populi, vox dei: ABC Online and the risks of dialogue interfaction’, in Histories of Public Services Broadcasters on the Web, editors N, Brugger and M, Burns, pp. 177 – 192, Peter Lang, New York

French Toast Media! I mean White Bread Media

“Hey man, pass me that bucket of fried chicken.”

“So do you like know karate and kung fu and stuff?”

 “Terrorist!!!”

These are all common stereotypes and where do we learn such stereotypes? Where else but from the media of course. This week lesson in emerging issues we learn about white bread media (no, there’s no wheat bread media), and white bread media refers to discrimination, biasness and misrepresentation made by the media on a certain group of people (mainly minority). It can also be misrepresentation on gender, race, and many more that shows in the media.

Stereotype as used by psychologist, is a mental construct built on ignorance rather than knowledge; it acts as a sort of defence mechanism, and that it is taken as a fact rather than as undigested or pre-digested information and imagery (Gardner 1992).

In Dreher’s article she states that it is with no surprise why the media gets criticised often and noted the cause has been its role in inflaming community tensions and contributing to racism in Australia. The media is a powerful tool that can shape the minds of its users, and is responsible for disseminating facts but when the media begins to disseminate stereotypical facts, people will start to accept that “fact” and thus creating stereotypes in their heads.

However, Gentzkow article states that the media will tend to distort information to make it conform to consumers’ prior belief. In his explanation, is that there will be more inaccurate information floating about in the media than accurate information, thus contradicting the accurate information. A media firm concerned about its reputation for accuracy will therefore be reluctant to report evidence at odds with consumers’ priors, even if they believe the evidence to be true. The more priors favour a given position, the less likely the firm becomes to print a story contradicting that position.

So sometimes it is not that the media doesn’t want to disseminate accurate information, but it could be us the ones receiving the information may doubt it causing them to disseminate information which isn’t accurate or misinterpreted. Take our country for example, Malaysia, our media practices media biasness for a very long time, with articles that glorifies the national coalition but demonizes the opposition. Is it the fault of the writers to do it? I don’t believe so. In fact I believe there are many who wants to give us accurate information of what is going on but can’t because we have a media watchdog that will bite your head off if you do (metaphorically speaking).

Reference

Dreher, T (forthcoming 2014), White bread media, The Media and Communications in Australia eds. S Cunningham and S Turnbull, Allen and Unwin

Gardner, R 1992, ‘Stereotype and Media’, The Midwest Quarterly, vol. 34, no.1, pp121-134

Gentzkow, M & Shapiro, J 2006, ‘Media Bias and Reputation’, Journal of Political Economy, vol. 114, no. 2, pp. 280-316

Second Life, Second chance at life?

This week’s lesson kind of struck me and got me thinking a bit, yes technology has improve so much so that is scary on how fast new technology is being introduced. In a blink of an eye your once new smartphone is old, out dated and out spec by newer models. But this week lesson made me realize technology around has been improving to help enrich and improve our lives but one group of people will not fully benefit from these advancements of technology, those with disability.

It’s disappointing really, though not really surprised, that their understanding of the power relations of technology did not incorporate for those who suffer from disability, the introduction of new technologies sees people with disabilities overlooked, omitted, neglected, or not considered. (Goggin & Newell 2007). Most technologies today are almost never built or designed with people with disabilities in mind such as the smart phone, sure some would say that the introduction of voice command on these phones can help tackle the problem but this feature is only available to those who could talk; what if the person is mute? How can he use it? And touchscreen how can the blind use it? He/she would have to rely on a QWERTY keyboard phone but even that does not have the brail on it to allow a blind person to type. Never mind about a deaf person the call feature is useless they can text however.

Although most technologies were created with people with disability not in mind, there are some technologies that are created that can give those who are disable a chance to experience life virtually. Second Life, a forum for a diverse spectrum of user experiences, is a space that facilitates varied kinds of engagement for people who identify as disabled. Those who see themselves as physically, intellectually or psychologically ‘disabled’ outside virtual realm, can log on to Second Life and encounter the technology and identity politics of this online community in different ways. Also, within Second Life, a new trajectory of disablement is established (Moody & Wood 2008). So problem solved? Finally a technology that could help those with disabilities to experience what life has to offer in the realm of virtual reality? Well is not that simple really, as Moody and Wood article state that despite the potential of 3D virtual reality worlds, there are many who are still unable to share in this experience because of the technological barriers that have yet to be bridged. Judy Brewer, Director of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, outlined some of the challenges, in which she described the pleasurable experience of her acquired virtual abilities (Moody & Wood 2008). Brewer also articulated the limitations of the environment for users with visual disabilities, those with hearing impairments and users with cognitive or neurological difficulties.

So yes, technologies have advanced so much in such a short amount of time, but they have not truly been made disability friendly for people who have disability. As you read above about Second Life indeed it has become a place for people with disability to have a second chance to experience what we normal people take for granted every day. But in the end Second Life itself cannot cater to all and also I feel that reality can never be replaced with virtual reality.

Reference

Goggin, G & Newell, C 2007, ‘The Business of Digital Disability’, The Information Society: An International Journal, vol.23, no.3, pp159-168.

Moody, A & Wood, D 2008, Imagining otherwise: Deleuze, disability & Second Life, ANZCA08: Power and Place. Wellington, NZ.

Internet goes feudal

Feudalization of the internet, what does it really mean? If you look at the word feudal you think ancient times no? Well let’s make it simple then feudalization then was a person known as a landlord who owns a huge plot of land and on his land people live there, and those people would have to obey the land lord in order to live in his land. So same goes for feudalization on the internet, let’s take our favourite social media website as example, Facebook, now Facebook will be the land lord and we the users are his people so we must abide by the term and condition set out by Facebook and whatever information we put on Facebook becomes the property of Facebook. This is the same for YouTube, Twitter etc.

With that being said we are constantly being monitored while using such site, they probably have a thousand page worth of information about us. Heck, they probably even know us better than our own parents. Scary isn’t it? They know your darkest secret, your deepest fetish, fears and etc. And you can’t do anything about it because we made it available to them by being on the internet.

What is a walled garden? Think of it as something like this, the internet was once young, and very naive. It was built by researchers and enthusiasts who shared information and trusted each other, like neighbours in a small town. Until a couple of years ago, you could believe the “From” line in an e-mail message (almost all were from someone you knew, anyway), open downloaded files safely, and connect a server to the net without much to worry about. But as the small town grew into a city, we begin to learn that some of our fellow citizens cannot be fully trusted. We start locking our doors, installing alarms, and watching our backs, slowly but surely becoming a paranoid parrot. Large organizations were the first to use security technologies such as data firewalls and virtual private networks, to make life in today’s big-city Internet safer and more pleasant. Today, widespread broadband Internet access means that home and small business users need that kind of protection too (Miller 2003).

 In other words, a walled garden is an environment that controls the user’s access to internet contents and services. In effect, the walled garden directs the user’s initial navigation within particular areas, to allow access to a selection of material, or prevent access to other material (Rouse 2005). And a good example here is that just yesterday there were reports from netizens crying foul claiming that the internet provider has block/denied them of access to the opposition party Facebook page as well as YouTube channel. Looking back at Suffian’s article he stated that how the opposition is denied the use of mainstream media therefore they must rely on likes of social media to spread their message. And this is a well time example of how the ruling government controls the information from being access by us.

Reference

Miller, D 2003, ‘The walled garden: helping the Internet grow up with firewalls, virtual private networks and other network security technologies’, Network World Canada, vol. 13, no.18, pp 6-9

Rouse, M 2005, “Walled Garden”,viewed 1 May 2013, retrieved from http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/walled-garden

Suffian, I2009, “Reflections of the 2008 Malaysian General Election: Role of the Internet in Political communications” viewed 1 May 2013, retrieved from www2.lse.ac.uk/IDEAS/publications/reports/pdf/…/Msia_Suffian.pdf

get with the times universities

You’re probably getting tired of reading this sentence “in this digital age, media has …” or anything along that lines by now, but guess what is going to be another post related to digital age.

As far as I can remember I have been using Wikipedia for all my secondary school report if need be, heck school teachers thought I did really extensive research on the given topic and praise me for my hard work when all I did was spend some time reading it all on Wikipedia.

Now, we can’t use Wikipedia in university and stuff but it goes to show that we the younger generation will not hesitate to search the internet for information when we need it. Thus, does this make university life easier? In a way yes, it has made life so what easier for most students. I can’t even remember the last time I spend hours in the library looking for a book or a journal. All I have to do is just go online and key in the keywords and there you go information to complete my assignment.

The internet is just full of resources, millions if not billions (that is exaggerated) of information exist on the internet for the taking. As stated by Miller everyone is equipped with a handheld convergence device that can provide immediate access to everything stored on the internet (Miller 2010). Like I mention earlier I can’t remember the last time I was at the library looking for journals and books, that’s because UOW do have an e-library with unknown numbers of journals and we the students can access to all the journals for free (Cause the best things in life are free). Also, some resources on Internet are open sources and users can get them for free but takes a little bit of luck.

A few times I have encountered and more rather hit a brick wall when I found a journal that would be perfect for what I need for my assignment only to discover I have to pay for it. Ain’t nobody got the cash for that! Imagine paying for a journal that will most likely be of one time use only and after that is of no use to you. Take for example Elsevier, a leading journal and book providers who charges an exorbitant amount of fee to use the journal or books they have. With such charges expensive charges (like $31 for a journal, which is like RM90 Malaysia) may cause library and universities to unsubscribe and the quality of education to drop. Harvard announced it will be unable to afford its academic journal subscription in a recent memo: Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive. This situation is exacerbated by efforts of certain publishers (called “providers”) to acquire, bundle, and increase the pricing on journals (Szkolar 2012). Cambridge mathematician, Tim Gowers, was so fed up with Elsevier’s sickening practices that he started a blog post summarizing criticism of the company, publicly announced he would no longer publish in their journals and asked other mathematicians to follow his example.  As a result, the Cost of Knowledge, was launched and more than 10,000 academics have pledged to boycott Elsevier (Neylon, 2012).

Thus more researchers should seek publishing open access repositories as Harvard themselves are encouraging their own to seek publishing on open access repositories (Szkolar 2012). We they should, academic information like these should not be expensive as they are for learning (this isn’t a formula to get rich fast anyway).

In Conclusion, I feel extremely lucky to have the likes of E-library or the UOW@Library to assist me with all my assignments but it also pains me to know that the university is paying so much just so we the students and lecturers can access to these academic journals and when I say it pains me it also means I now know why I paid so much tuition fee every month so the university can keep their subscription to these publishers. But for how long? If Harvard, one of the richest and most prestigious universities in the United States, cannot afford scientific journal subscriptions and the situation is dire enough to outweigh the shame in publicly announcing this, what will happen to not so rich universities?

Reference

Miller, R 2010, ‘The Coming Apocalypse’, Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp143-151

Neylon, T 2012, ‘Life after Elsevier: making open access to scientific knowledge a reality’, The Guardian, 24 April, accessed 24/4/2013,

Szkolar, D 2012, ‘Academic Journals are too Expensive For Harvard, Elsevier is Mega Greedy, and Why this Stinks for Future Librarians’ School of Information Studies Syracuse University, 29 May, accessed 24/4/2013

Is there a future left for the press?

The passage of time has a way of throwing custard pies at those who predict the future. This is particularly true in the hype-ridden world of the media. In the 1940s, the Hutchins Commission, an august body of public intellectuals, predicted that the facsimile newspaper delivered by wireless would rejuvenate the American press. In the 1970s, citizen’s band radio was said authoritatively to be ‘‘taking the US by storm’’, and was poised to recreate a sense of community. In 1982, Britain’s Technology Minister, Kenneth Baker, informed the Commons that cable television ‘‘will have more far-reaching effects on our society than the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago’’. In the 1990s, American industry experts like Tom Laster said that the CD-Rom was going to spell the end of the book in schools. And in the mid-1990s through to the mid-2000s, it was predicted repeatedly that red button TV interactivism was leading to a fundamental shift of power from the TV director to the consumer in the home (Curran J, 2010).

Yeah all that didn’t happen did it? So I would stop trying to predict what holds for us in the future when it comes to the media. But that isn’t the big issue here, oh no. The big issue here is about where we prefer to get our news from now. I like how George here puts it ‘‘For many years’’, he writes, ‘‘the local press has been one of Britain’s most potent threats to democracy, championing the overdog, misrepresenting democratic choices, defending business, the police and local elites from those who seek to challenge them’’. There are, he suggests, a handful of decent local newspapers. But in general, ‘‘this lot just aren’t worth saving’’ because they ‘‘do more harm than good’’ (Monbiot, 2009). This is very similar to what we are going through in Malaysia thus the younger generation has seek to user generated news instead rather than local newspaper heck even some older generation has seek user generated news as well.

User-generated communication is situational and contextual, as it usually brings together groups of people based on interest and opportunity (Quandt, 2011). This like Malaysiakini, a group of people who decided enough was enough and launched the first and most influential online news portal in Malaysia. Who in the past 10 years, it has established itself as a major online media player in the country with its speedy, in-depth coverage of on-going political issues in the country, culminating in its hugely successful reporting of the March 2008 general election which saw a massive change in the nation’s political landscape (Khabilan, 2009). And blogging as well has also become a tool for disseminating news (other than becoming an online dairy for all to read), reflecting its role as an alternative source of information, ideas, and opinions. In Malaysia, politically contentious Malaysian bloggers write stories and voice opinions not represented, or underrepresented, in the mainstream media, while also offering critical readings of how issues and events are addressed and discussed (Smeltzer, nd).

 So with all that going on, what does the Malaysian government do to curb all this? They came up with Section 114A, which is an amendment to Malaysia’s Evidence Act 1950, which enables law enforcement officials to hold one accountable for publishing seditious, defamatory, or libellous content online, as long as the allegedly defamatory content is traced back to one’s username, electronic device, and/or WiFi network. Well that’s a hit below the belt move isn’t it? Senior criminal lawyer Ranjit Singh Dhillon states that “the silver lining here is that 114A teaches people social responsibility, which is sadly lacking in the new IT age.” (Sharanjit, 2012) Yeah let that quote sink in for just a minute, ready? Look below for my opinion on this.

In my humble opinion, yes people need to be more responsible of what they say on the internet (we have too many stupid people on the net) but if that person has evidence to back-up their claims why should they be prosecuted or whatsoever? If they go through with this act won’t many of the local newspaper journalists be prosecuted as well (their news do end up on their own news portal right?)?

So what does the future holds for journalism? For me I think it is just going to get a lot more interesting from here as traditional paper struggle to stay alive in a time where information is disseminated ever so quickly and probably stick around at best a decade or so but user generated content would grow and become a preferred choice of information for the people.

Reference

Curran, J 2010, ‘The Future of Journalism’, Journalism Studies, Vol.11, No. 4, pp 464-476

Monbiot, G 2009, ‘‘I, Too Mourn Good Local Newspapers. But this lot just aren’t worth saving’’, Guardian, 9 November, accessed 17/4/2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/09/local-newspapers-democracy

Khabilan, K 2009, ‘New Media, Citizen’s Journalism and Democracy: The Malaysiakini Project’, Media Asia, Vol. 36, No. 3, pp156-158

Sharanjit, S 2012, ‘Section 114A can be both sword, shield’, New Straits Times, 26 August, accessed 17/4/2013, http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/section-114a-can-be-both-sword-shield-1.129309

Smeltzer, S 2008, ‘Blogging in Malaysia: Hope for democratic Technology?’, Journal of International Communication, Vol. 14, No.1, pp28-45

Quandt, T 2011, ‘Understanding a New Phenomenon: The significance of participatory journalism’, in JB Singer, A Hermida, D Domingo, A Heinonen, S Paulssen, T Quandt, Z Reich & M Vujnovic (eds.), Participatory Journalism in Online Newspapers: Guardian Open gates Newspapers, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex, pp155-176

Too pink or not too pink?

I have to be honest here, I have no idea we had an issue with breast cancer (as if breast cancer was not big of an issue already) not until we had a lesson on “Pinkwashing”. Guess as media student we have to be aware and question everything huh? Anyhow, the term “Pinkwashing” was coined by activist used to describe the activities of companies and groups that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to rising rates of the disease (Malkan, S 2007).

Note the part where Malkan says “contributing to rising rates of the disease”. And now you are probably thinking how can these corporation or groups contribute to that when what they doing is to eradicate breast cancer?

‘This is blasphemy! This is madness!’

Calm down let me explain, as far as we know breast cancer is not just genetic, as research has shown that environmental exposures to toxic chemicals (through air, water, food, furniture, cosmetics, plastics, cleaners, and workplace exposures) are contributing factors in a large number of cancer cases (Lubitow, A & Davis, M 2011). And that includes breast cancer. Let’s take Avon for example, Avon is one of the most recognizable corporate entities participating in the breast cancer awareness industry and according to the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC), more than 250 of Avon’s products listed in a database assessing the health risks of cosmetic products are listed in the ‘‘highest concern’’ category due to the presence of hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and possible carcinogens (Lubitow, A & Davis, M 2011). So, instead of helping to reduce the cause of breast cancer these corporations are more like “helping” to increase breast cancer. Is just like the hybrid car issue whereby corporations tells you hybrid cars saves you fuel and the environment, but they didn’t tell you that by producing those batteries used in hybrid cars have harmful waste product that not only endanger the environment but to us as well. And don’t get me started on all those pink products they release specifically for breast cancer awareness campaign (heck even KFC joined in and luckily for us it was the bucket that was pink not the chicken).

Another bit highlighted was where do all these profit go to? You know that favourite line they always say the money donated will be used to find a cure for breast cancer. But does the money really go into research?  Going back to Avon again, they managed to raise millions of dollars for research which also allows them to dictate how and where that money is spent. In 2009, less than 7% of the $27.6 billion worth of funds disbursed by Avon went to research investigating the causes of breast cancer, environmental or otherwise (Lubitow, A & Davis, M 2011). Only 7% went into research how sad is that? And the rest of the money goes back to the company so profits and good image is attained by the company but research to find prevention for breast cancer still not happening.

So let’s wrap it here, corporation today love to jump in the bandwagon when there is a trend. It doesn’t matter if it is saving the environment (greenwashing), breast cancer awareness (pinkwashing) or saving bees, trees, whales or even snails. They are all out to gain profit and to improve their corporate image. Sure they do care about us their target audience to a certain degree but ultimately profits is what they want, if there is no profit to gain to begin with why would they even bother to invest in it when they can invest their time and money on other matters that could benefit them.

Reference

Lubitow, A & Davis, M 2011, “Pastel Injustice: the corporate use of pinkwashing for profit”, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 139-144.

Malkan, S 2007, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, CAN

Media Freedom: fact or fiction? with a twist of self regulation

What day and age do we live in today? An age where we can build towers that touches the very sky we see every day, an age of what was once science fiction in the past is now a reality today, an age where media plays a key role in shaping the minds of people. Today, the role of the mass media has become so prominent not only for disseminating information for the public and private organisations but also for increasing the degree of literacy among Asian people (Syed Agil Alsagof 2011). The role of the media helps us to understand how public relations may support organisations to build economic transition in developing countries because it is a powerful tool to shape public opinion (Sriramesh & Vercic 2003).

So what about the media freedom in Malaysia? A study done by Freedom House in 2003 entitled “Freedom of the Press 2003” gave Malaysia press the status of “Not free” (Mohd Azizudin Mohd Sani 2005). Because media has such capabilities to shape the way we think, the media in Malaysia has been heavily controlled. Netto (2002) argues that media freedom in Malaysia has been restricted in three ways:

1. Through restrictive laws.

2. Through ownership of media by political parties and connected business individuals.

3. Through self-censorship exercised by editors and journalists themselves.

With such restrictions, there is close to no media freedom at all in Malaysia. Some would argue that it is due to the Malaysian culture and sensitivities that such restriction is required. I agree we live in a country where people’s egos are easily bruised but I am certain that we can find a way to work around it if we truly want it. Because I believe that the media should be committed to upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, and not just for a certain groups of individual.

And what of self-regulations in Malaysia? Self- regulation is intended for the media industry bodies to be recognized by the regulatory authority that they have implemented the industry voluntary codes of practice regarding various matters relate to the subject of regulations (Syed Agil Alsagof 2011). But of course there is a loophole and that they didn’t bet on the likes of the internet which cannot be regulated like the press or broadcast. Which has made life difficult for some individuals, as one cannot fully control the internet as it is equivalent to trying to control space.

So let’s wrap this up shall we? Media freedom, Malaysians have come to their senses at last that they want more transparency in the media. But for self-regulation I think this one is important because regulation has to be standardized to a certain degree of professionalism but not for the protection of certain groups.

Reference

Alsagoff, SA, Abdullah, Z & Hassan, MS 2011, ‘The growth and development of the Malaysian media landscape in shaping media regulation’, Global Media Journal – Malaysian Edition, vol.1, no.1, pp32-55.

Azizudin, MS 2005, ‘Media Freedom in Malaysia’, Journal of Comtemporary Asia, vol.35, no.3, pp341 – 367.

Netto, A 2002 ‘Media freedom in Malaysia: The challenge facing civil society’ Media Asia, vol. 29 no.1, pp17-23.

Sriramesh, K & Vercic, D 2003 ‘The global public relations handbook’ New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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