In the past, the mainstream media were analysed along linguistic and regional lines eg Sabah and Sarawak media. It was fairly easy to identify the political and business interests behind those media. And the alternative media were smaller publications and even websites.
But with the onset of the digital era, the lines have become blurred and transparency has fallen. This raises fundamental questions about how much media freedom and independence we really have. Readers are often at a loss over who actually owns and funds the media, given the lack of transparency over ownership and financing.
The media also have to deal with legal constraints and questions over long-term financial sustainability, making them more reliant on external funding.
Apart from news portals, social media also serve as megaphones for the famous and those with enough resources to target their messages.
So what is mainstream now and what is alternative? The internet has made things so fluid that alternative media can morph into mainstream to some degrees.
So how do we know which media to trust and which we can rely on?
- Dr Mustafa K Anuar – A long-time Aliran exco member and former honorary secretary. Former USM associate professor who has taught many who are now journalists
- Himanshu Bhatt – a veteran journalist and news editor in the print and online media and now executive editor of an online news portal
- Dr Ngo Sheau Shi – a senior lecturer in communications with USM
- Prof Zaharom Nain – Professor of media and communication studies at University Nottingham Malaysia, with a background primarily in Political Economy and Media Sociology
- Moderator: Anil Netto, Aliran president
This webinar was held on 18 March 2021.