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Framing The Fight Against Terror: Order Versus Liberty in the Mainstream and Alternative Media
Unformatted Document Text:  ICA-6-10348 5 militant groups overseas, thus making it part of the global terror network that had seized the agenda since September 11. This “national security” frame continued to shape NST’s coverage. Its editorial on Jan 26, for example, argued that “had the problem not been nipped in the bud this time around, there would be no telling the devastation that might have been wrought”. National prestige For Malaysia’s political leaders, there was an uneasy tension between communicating KMM’s threat to national security, and maintaining Malaysia’s reputation as a safe, stable and moderate Muslim society. The government was especially anxious that Malaysia not to be seen as a spawning ground for global terrorism as thus incur pressure from the United States. A page one story on Jan 6 led with Mahathir indignantly denying that Malaysia was a key staging ground for the Sept 11 attacks. In subsequent reports, his deputy Abdullah Badawi assured that the situation was under control. Fundamentalist roots NST’s editorial (“Weed out roots”) published on Jan 6, the day after it reported the arrests, apportioned blame for militancy to “legitimisers in our society” – including PAS. The alleged links between KMM and PAS continued to be a running theme in NST’s coverage. Statements by politicians of the ruling alliance questioning these links were also picked up. Police operation Most of NST’s shorter articles on KMM framed the story as a police operation. It involved the hunt for more KMM members, followed by additional arrests. The Jan 26 page one article, for example, led with the statement that police were looking for 200 people linked to KMM. The large numbers involved and the staggered timing of the

Authors: George, Cherian.
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ICA-6-10348
5
militant groups overseas, thus making it part of the global terror network that had seized
the agenda since September 11. This “national security” frame continued to shape NST’s
coverage. Its editorial on Jan 26, for example, argued that “had the problem not been
nipped in the bud this time around, there would be no telling the devastation that might
have been wrought”.
National prestige
For Malaysia’s political leaders, there was an uneasy tension between
communicating KMM’s threat to national security, and maintaining Malaysia’s
reputation as a safe, stable and moderate Muslim society. The government was especially
anxious that Malaysia not to be seen as a spawning ground for global terrorism as thus
incur pressure from the United States. A page one story on Jan 6 led with Mahathir
indignantly denying that Malaysia was a key staging ground for the Sept 11 attacks. In
subsequent reports, his deputy Abdullah Badawi assured that the situation was under
control.
Fundamentalist roots
NST’s editorial (“Weed out roots”) published on Jan 6, the day after it reported
the arrests, apportioned blame for militancy to “legitimisers in our society” – including
PAS. The alleged links between KMM and PAS continued to be a running theme in
NST’s coverage. Statements by politicians of the ruling alliance questioning these links
were also picked up.
Police operation
Most of NST’s shorter articles on KMM framed the story as a police operation. It
involved the hunt for more KMM members, followed by additional arrests. The Jan 26
page one article, for example, led with the statement that police were looking for 200
people linked to KMM. The large numbers involved and the staggered timing of the


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