Thursday, February 21, 2008
Major newspapers and television stations -- many partly owned by parties in the ruling coalition -- are awash with flattering stories on the government and its achievements while giving only negative glimpses of the opposition.
Therefore, opposition parties are turning to blogs, SMS and YouTube to woo voters ahead of the March 8 snap polls.
"We cannot neutralize the state-controlled media," said Lim, 67.
"But Inte pick-up rates will keep getting higher. We will not be blacked out forever."
Lim, from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), is tipped as one of the most "wired" politicians in Malaysia.
While many of his generation may struggle to send an email, he runs three blogs which are meticulously updated with multiple posts every day, and many of the party's other leaders follow suit.
The opposition Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) runs an online journal, HarakahDaily, which features six different online television channels and original reporting on the election.
Ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim also has his own blog which has news links and videos of his Keadilan party's campaign activities.
The March polls would see the election of the national legislature and twelve state assemblies.
Candidates are vying for 222 parliamentary seats and 505 state assembly seats.
DAP candidate Jeff Ooi, a well-known blogger, said news and views on blogs are appealing to a cross-section of society.
"We are attracting many concerned citizens who are above 45 years old and these are the people who are more interested in politics and the oppositions' viewpoint," he said.
"Our campaign videos will be transmitted through YouTube because it is unlikely for television stations to broadcast them, of course."
Lee Sean Li, a 31-year-old accountant, is impressed by the opposition cyberspace strategy.
Complaining that there are only negative glimpses of the opposition in the main media, he avidly surfs the web for alternative news.
"They control the television but we've got YouTube now," Li told AFP.
Malaysia ranks 124 out of 169 on the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders' world press freedom index.
The watchdog says Malaysia's main media are "often compelled to ignore or to play down the many events organized by the opposition".
Li was delighted to Lim post a speech on the upcoming elections just minutes after Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dissolved parliament earlier this month.
"I was impressed at how professional he was and it is a clever use of technology."
Source : IslamOnline