Media of Malaysia

Opposition newspapers with some pro-government newspapers on sale in Kuala Lumpur, from bottom Sinar Harian, Harakah, Suara Keadilan and Kosmo!.

The media of Malaysia include television, radio, newspapers, and web-based media such as bloggers. Many media outlets are either owned directly by the government of Malaysia (e.g. Bernama) or owned by component parties of the Barisan Nasional coalition government (e.g. the Media Prima group, which is owned by the United Malays National Organisation). Two opposition parties, PAS and PKR, publish their own newspapers, respectively Harakah and Suara Keadilan, which are openly sold alongside regular publications.

Since conventional media is so tightly controlled by the government, Malaysia has a lively alternative media scene, characterised by such news portals as Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider which take advantage of the government's pledge not to censor the Internet despite its stranglehold on most mass media outlets.


There are over 30 newspapers and tabloids published mainly in Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil. The most prominent newspapers include The Star, New Straits Times, theSun, Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Nanyang Siang Pau.

Television and radio

In 2007, a government agency ordered private television and radio stations to refrain from broadcasting opposition speeches.

State-owned RTM operates two free-to-air terrestrial local television channels licensed to broadcast in Malaysia, as well as 34 radio channels nationwide. Meanwhile, Media Prima is the parent company of four television channels and three radio channels (Hot FM, Fly FM & One FM).

Privately owned by Astro All Asia networks plc, Astro is Malaysia's current only satellite television provider. There are 200 channels to choose from at a minimum amount of RM 49.95 per month and at a maximum amount of RM 200.00 per month. Astro had 20 radio channels, of which 17 are Astro-branded radio stations, of which nine of them are available via FM radio.

HyppTV by UniFi is one of Malaysia's IPTV provider but to take the TV package, the customer must select at least one internet package, from RM 149 per month to RM 350 per month.

ABNXcess is Malaysia's only cable television provider and has over 180 channels at a price of RM55 per month for the first year then RM80 for every subsequent year.


The regulated freedom of the press has been criticised. Although critics concede that journalists "probably won't be hauled off and shot" for being critical of the government, it has been claimed that the government creates a chilling effect through threats of reduced employment opportunities and refusing journalists' family members "a place at one of the better public universities". Legislation such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act have also been cited as curtailing freedom of expression.[1]

In 2007, a government agency – the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission – issued a directive to all private television and radio stations to refrain from broadcasting speeches made by opposition leaders.[2] The move was condemned by politicians from the opposition Democratic Action Party.[3] The directive was later withdrawn by the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry.[4]

Malaysia was ranked 141 out of 178 countries in the Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders in 2010 and 122 out of 179 countries in 2012.[5]

Owing to political sensitivities, newspapers from Singapore cannot be sold in Malaysia, hence the The Straits Times and other Singapore titles are not sold in Malaysia, while the New Straits Times and other Malaysian titles are not sold in Singapore. The ban was imposed before the 1 May 1969 general election in Malaysia.[6][7]

Notes and references

  1. McAdams, Mindy (2007). Why journalists act like chickens. Retrieved 1 April 2007.
  2. "Opposition muzzled – here's black and white proof". Malaysiakini. 29 June 2007.
  3. Vikneswary, G (28 June 2007). "TV station denies censoring opposition news". Malaysiakini.
  4. Phang, Llew-Ann; Puah, Pauline (4 July 2007). "MCMC, you're out of line". Malaysia Today.
  5. "Press Freedom Index 2010". Reporters Without Borders. 2010. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  6. "Good sentiments towards Malaysians on the rise". 8 May 2005. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  7. Arming the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF): trends and implications, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, 2003, page 66
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