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Framing The Fight Against Terror: Order Versus Liberty in the Mainstream and Alternative Media
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing The Fight Against Terror: Order Versus Liberty In The Mainstream And Alternative Press Abstract The threat of terror has strengthened the consensus around the need for order, even at the expense of civil liberties. What is the role of the press in promoting and policing this consensus? This paper examines the performance of news media in Malaysia, where militant cells have recently been uncovered, prompting the use of security laws that permit lengthy detention without trial. The coverage of one of the largest establishment newspapers, The New Straits Times, is compared with that of an independent website, Malaysiakini.com. Consistent with research elsewhere, the mainstream press is found to be generally unsympathetic towards perceived breaches of order. The New Straits Times framed the affair mainly in national security terms. Malaysiakini, in contrast, expressed a concern for civil liberties, and the possibility that the government was exploiting the war against terrorism to crack down on peaceful political dissent. The study highlights the importance of the alternative press in keeping key debates open at times when there is pressure on the news media to support the state’s agenda.

Authors: George, Cherian.
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Framing The Fight Against Terror:
Order Versus Liberty
In The Mainstream And Alternative Press
Abstract
The threat of terror has strengthened the consensus around the need for
order, even at the expense of civil liberties. What is the role of the press in
promoting and policing this consensus? This paper examines the
performance of news media in Malaysia, where militant cells have recently
been uncovered, prompting the use of security laws that permit lengthy
detention without trial. The coverage of one of the largest establishment
newspapers, The New Straits Times, is compared with that of an
independent website, Malaysiakini.com. Consistent with research
elsewhere, the mainstream press is found to be generally unsympathetic
towards perceived breaches of order. The New Straits Times framed the
affair mainly in national security terms. Malaysiakini, in contrast,
expressed a concern for civil liberties, and the possibility that the
government was exploiting the war against terrorism to crack down on
peaceful political dissent. The study highlights the importance of the
alternative press in keeping key debates open at times when there is
pressure on the news media to support the state’s agenda.


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