The rough and rosy road: Sites of contestation in Malaysia's shackled media industry

Graham K Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines the politics of state media control in Malaysia, with a particular focus on the period since the economic and political turmoil of 1997 and 1998. It argues that the Barisan Nasional (BN) regime has pursued a two-pronged approach to media control, through a strategy of legislative regulation and corporate ownership. Regulatory controls such as stringent printing permit legislation have been weakened by the rise of the Internet as a form of political communication but the regime also has an array of more oppressive legislation at its disposal which has been used as a threat against Internet organizations that challenge its control. Moreover, the broader political economy of Internet access and the finincial limitations of such efforts limit the impact of the Internet as an alternative vehicle of communication. In the realm of corporate ownership, however, the regime has also experienced problems in its media strategy as factional struggles within and between the component parties of the ruling coalition have resulted in 'newspaper wars' between their respective publications, indicating very publicly the limits of the BN's media control strategy, as well as undermining its self-promoted image as a consensus builder. The article concludes that whilst neither of these challenges is sufficiently strong to undermine regime domination of the media industry and push significantly for democratization in the country, they are nonetheless important representations of the limits of the state's control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalPacific Affairs
Volume78
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Fingerprint

media industry
Malaysia
road
regime
Internet
ownership
legislation
communication
democratization
political economy
political communication
government supervision
politics
domination
self-image
coalition
newspaper
threat
regulation
economics

Cite this

The rough and rosy road: Sites of contestation in Malaysia's shackled media industry. / Brown, Graham K.

In: Pacific Affairs, Vol. 78, No. 1, 2005, p. 39-56.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{b3bdc3f4537d42f1913eac9dd891d634,
title = "The rough and rosy road: Sites of contestation in Malaysia's shackled media industry",
abstract = "This article examines the politics of state media control in Malaysia, with a particular focus on the period since the economic and political turmoil of 1997 and 1998. It argues that the Barisan Nasional (BN) regime has pursued a two-pronged approach to media control, through a strategy of legislative regulation and corporate ownership. Regulatory controls such as stringent printing permit legislation have been weakened by the rise of the Internet as a form of political communication but the regime also has an array of more oppressive legislation at its disposal which has been used as a threat against Internet organizations that challenge its control. Moreover, the broader political economy of Internet access and the finincial limitations of such efforts limit the impact of the Internet as an alternative vehicle of communication. In the realm of corporate ownership, however, the regime has also experienced problems in its media strategy as factional struggles within and between the component parties of the ruling coalition have resulted in 'newspaper wars' between their respective publications, indicating very publicly the limits of the BN's media control strategy, as well as undermining its self-promoted image as a consensus builder. The article concludes that whilst neither of these challenges is sufficiently strong to undermine regime domination of the media industry and push significantly for democratization in the country, they are nonetheless important representations of the limits of the state's control.",
author = "Brown, {Graham K}",
year = "2005",
language = "English",
volume = "78",
pages = "39--56",
journal = "Pacific Affairs",
issn = "0030-851X",
publisher = "University of British Columbia",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The rough and rosy road: Sites of contestation in Malaysia's shackled media industry

AU - Brown, Graham K

PY - 2005

Y1 - 2005

N2 - This article examines the politics of state media control in Malaysia, with a particular focus on the period since the economic and political turmoil of 1997 and 1998. It argues that the Barisan Nasional (BN) regime has pursued a two-pronged approach to media control, through a strategy of legislative regulation and corporate ownership. Regulatory controls such as stringent printing permit legislation have been weakened by the rise of the Internet as a form of political communication but the regime also has an array of more oppressive legislation at its disposal which has been used as a threat against Internet organizations that challenge its control. Moreover, the broader political economy of Internet access and the finincial limitations of such efforts limit the impact of the Internet as an alternative vehicle of communication. In the realm of corporate ownership, however, the regime has also experienced problems in its media strategy as factional struggles within and between the component parties of the ruling coalition have resulted in 'newspaper wars' between their respective publications, indicating very publicly the limits of the BN's media control strategy, as well as undermining its self-promoted image as a consensus builder. The article concludes that whilst neither of these challenges is sufficiently strong to undermine regime domination of the media industry and push significantly for democratization in the country, they are nonetheless important representations of the limits of the state's control.

AB - This article examines the politics of state media control in Malaysia, with a particular focus on the period since the economic and political turmoil of 1997 and 1998. It argues that the Barisan Nasional (BN) regime has pursued a two-pronged approach to media control, through a strategy of legislative regulation and corporate ownership. Regulatory controls such as stringent printing permit legislation have been weakened by the rise of the Internet as a form of political communication but the regime also has an array of more oppressive legislation at its disposal which has been used as a threat against Internet organizations that challenge its control. Moreover, the broader political economy of Internet access and the finincial limitations of such efforts limit the impact of the Internet as an alternative vehicle of communication. In the realm of corporate ownership, however, the regime has also experienced problems in its media strategy as factional struggles within and between the component parties of the ruling coalition have resulted in 'newspaper wars' between their respective publications, indicating very publicly the limits of the BN's media control strategy, as well as undermining its self-promoted image as a consensus builder. The article concludes that whilst neither of these challenges is sufficiently strong to undermine regime domination of the media industry and push significantly for democratization in the country, they are nonetheless important representations of the limits of the state's control.

M3 - Article

VL - 78

SP - 39

EP - 56

JO - Pacific Affairs

JF - Pacific Affairs

SN - 0030-851X

IS - 1

ER -