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Strategic Censorship in a Hybrid Authoritarian Regime? Differential Bias in Malaysia's Online and Print Media

  • Jason Abbott and John Wagner Givens
Abstract

We analyze and compare three separate efforts to code bias in Malaysia's media and find strong empirical evidence of an ongoing and profound progovernment bias in coverage. We also find, however, significant variation in bias between different types of news outlets. While Malay and Anglophone sources tended to be strongly progovernment, Chinese-language and online outlets were far more impartial. We demonstrate that both the general bias and the variation in it are largely the result of two factors: (1) government censorship and (2) ownership structures that link many major outlets to the ruling coalition. These findings provide a detailed view of the struggle for media independence in a less-than-democratic regime and supply insight into media bias across both authoritarian and democratic regimes in Asia, as well as outside it.

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Journal of East Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 1598-2408
  • EISSN: 2234-6643
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-east-asian-studies
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