Study Shows Why BN Lost Media War

April 2, 2008

New Straits Times, 020408

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional’s apathy towards the use of the Internet was a major contributor to its losses in the recent general election, a new study revealed.

The study by Zentrum Future Studies Malaysia, conducted from Feb 20 to March 5 and involving 1,500 respondents aged between 21 and 50, showed that the alternative media had a big influence on voters.

Universiti Malaya Media Studies department senior lecturer Dr Abu Hassan Hasbullah said in the recent election, BN lost in the “information war” due to its misjudgment on the importance of the alternative media.

“Young people are relying more on these new alternative media rather than the conventional ones like newspapers and television,” he said at a forum themed “Society and Media in the 2008 Election” yesterday.

In the study, 64.5 per cent of those aged from 21 to 30 years trusted blogs and online media for reliable information compared with 23.1 per cent who relied on the television and only 12.4 per cent on newspapers.
Of those between 31 and 40 years, 61.7 per cent believed that the information in the blogs and online media was true while 23.5 trusted the television and 14.8 per cent the newspapers.

But the older generation, those who are from 41 to 50 years old, seemed to trust the traditional media more than the new media.

“Realising how powerful the new media is, the opposition parties have used the opportunity since 1998 when the Internet started to penetrate the country.

“In the mid 2000, the opposition had more than 7,500 blogs and websites while the government had only three,” said Abu Hassan who is also a researcher for the study.

Newspaper columnist Datuk Johan Jaafar felt there was a need to have a critical thinking to deal with these new modern media.

“This is a new influence that we need to carefully think of,” he said.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


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