Mass Media in Malaysia

Topics: Internet, Pornography, History of the Internet Pages: 13 (5550 words) Published: July 16, 2013
Mass media is defined as print and electronic means of communication that transmit information to widespread audiences (Schaefer, 2012). Examples of print mass media included newspapers, magazines, booklets and brochures, house magazines, periodicals or newsletters, direct mailers, handbills or flyers, billboards, press releases, and books. While examples of electronic mass media are television, radio, computers, and smartphones. The past of mass media is extensive and complex. It stretches back further than the dawns of recorded history to the people that figured out that they could reach more audience through painting a picture on a cave wall than just by telling the story to whatever group happened to be present (Damitio, 2012). From the viewpoint of conflict theorists, the divisions in our society are reflected and even exacerbated by mass media. There are three major concepts from conflict perspective, which are media monitoring, digital divide, and dominant ideology. Media monitoring often used to refer to interest groups’ monitoring of media content (Schaefer, 2012). One of the media monitored by some authorities is internet, which is also known as internet censorship. According to Webster Online Dictionary, internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. Since 2009, Google has been praised for publishing "transparency reports" on government demands to take information offline. Each time a government official requests for a search result to be congested or a YouTube video to be taken down, Google marks down the request and reveals the number of such takedowns each nation has asked for every six months or so (Isaacson, 2013). Digital divide refers to a gap between places and groups that have far less access than others to the latest technologies because the advances in communication technology are not evenly distributed worldwide. For example, people in low-income families, developing countries or rural area are less likely to have Internet access while people in developed countries or urban area have the privilege in accessing the internet (Schaefer, 2012). Another major concept from conflict perspective is dominant ideology. Dominant ideology refers to a set of cultural beliefs and practices that helps to preserve powerful social, economic, and political interest. The media transmit information that principally defines what we look as the real world, even though those images often differ from the ones that the larger society experiences (Schaefer, 2012). Up next, these three major concepts will be discussed in more detail with some cases in Malaysia.

Malaysian government does not employ any known filtering technology to actively block websites, though the authorities have engaged other methods to limit the circulation of some information. A provision of the CMA explicitly states that nothing in the act “shall be construed as authorizing the censorship of the Internet.” The Bill of Guarantees of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), an information technology development project, also promises no censorship of the internet. Throughout 2011, officials, including Prime Minister Najib Razak, repeatedly reinforced their commitment not to censor the internet. However, in April 2012, the parliament passed an amendment to the 1950 Evidence Act that holds intermediaries accountable for content posted by anonymous users, raising concerns that this would damper free expression online and open the door to selective, politically motivated prosecutions (“Freedom House”, 2012). There are three types of information that have usually been closely monitored by Malaysian authority on the internet, which are pornography, racism and online gambling. Pornography refers to the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement (Merriam Webster). According to Daily Infographic (2013), 12% of the websites on the...
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