This report presents key findings from the monitoring of news media coverage of the 14th General Election in 2018 – from the dissolution of Parliament on 7 April 2018 until 12 May 2018, three days after the elections on 9 May 2018. It was conducted by the Centre for the Study of Communications and Culture under the School of Media, Languages and Cultures at the University of Nottingham Malaysia. The monitoring, with the help of 50 volunteers, covered a total of 24 outlets from the state and private media. The content was selected from the home/national pages/segments and coded to assess the coverage of 20 categories of information that are explained in detail later.

[Yap Pao Sium] This research uses the analytical framework from Italian social theorist Antonio Gramsci’s notion of civil society to understand the potential of new media in expanding the NCR land advocacy in Sarawak. Gramsci sees civil society as an arena of struggles between ruling and ruled classes to achieve hegemony, referring to cultural domination by shaping consent.

[CIJ] As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and more public spaces begin closing their doors, the question of protecting our freedom of expression and speech arises. It is clear that we must continue civil discourses and defend our ability to share and access information. We must also carry on tracking and monitoring developments that threaten to limit our free speech or infringe on our rights to express ourselves, share information, challenge, think, create and explore ideas.

The newly minted government should strive to construct a new media environment which would bemore reasonable and healthier for all. A new media environment which improves the rights of communication is indeed long overdue. People should be allowed to collectively create, amend and change our shared culture in a society which embraces free flow of information. It is definitely a tough and challenging task to reform and rebuild the media environment in our country. Meanwhile, it also requires anactive participation and support from the public.

[Jo-Ann Ding, Lay Chin Koh & Jacqueline Ann Surin] The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.

[James Gomez] Back in GE 2008, the new media electoral landscape was comprised of blogs, party websites and alternative news portals and not really social media as we it know today. In 2008, BN was the clear social media outsider. In fact, BN literally had limited online presence and was said to have underestimated the impact of new media altogether on the electorate’s voting behavior. Fast forward to April 2013, the landscape is very different. BN had made strong inroads onto social media and has carved itself a competitive position. What then has been social media’s political impact on voter behaviour during Malaysia’s 13th general elections?

【媒体与大选文献回顾/Kim-Hui Lim, Wai-Mun Har】This study analyzes the rhetorical strategy of using the emotion of fear as a political tool in the 11th Malaysia General Election campaign. The three-prong objectives of this study are to analyze the main themes and issues used to address this tactic of fear, the general perceptions that non-Moslems in Malaysia have of the concept of Islamic state as a symbol of fear and rhetorical strategies used to provoke this fear. The findings concluded that the National Front party (Barisan National, BN) used the fear factor effectively in its campaign. This situation is further enhanced by the strong control of BN over the Malaysian media in addition to the character of Chinese voters who generally prefer not to leave their current comfort zone and are afraid of an Islamic state.

【媒体与大选文献回顾/Wong Kok Keong】It was rather cynical of the BN to rely on the lack of internet penetration to win votes in the hinterland. Even the mainstream media were in tacit agreement with the mentality. It was as though the BN was happy to win votes from Malaysians kept in the dark by being fed only their propaganda through the mainstream media. But that has been shown to work only up to a point.

【媒体与大选文献回顾/Wong Kok Keong】The research examined three areas – news report, opinions (editorials, comments, columns) and letters to the editors – to determine how many items were focused or positive on the National Front (NF) and the Alternative Front (AF); negative on the NF and AF; balanced towards both; and non-party related (NPR). It examined the coverage of The New Straits Times, The Star and The Sun from 12 to 29 November 1999.

【媒体与大选文献回顾/Wong Kok Keong】 The main aim is to show how or to what extent the mainstream media were unfair and unbalanced. Points or arguments could be better made with data or evidence systematically gathered. Anecdotal evidence gleaned here and there might be telling but does not reliably yield an overall pattern or picture of a situation. The purpose of this study is to help provide stronger evidence for making arguments and, in turn, raise the level of discourse into a more rational, objective one.