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Framing The Fight Against Terror: Order Versus Liberty in the Mainstream and Alternative Media
Unformatted Document Text:  ICA-6-10348 7 duo tell Suhakam probe team”; only in the eighth and eleventh paragraphs of the thirteen- paragraph story are the two men quoted as denying any intention of using their Mujahidin weapons training in Malaysia. The framing of militancy in Malaysiakini.com Malaysiakini is a website providing daily coverage of Malaysian social and political issues. It presents itself as an independent, nonpartisan source of news and opinion. In the Malaysian context, where state hegemony is exercised over and through the mainstream press, Malaysiakini’s niche is in offering perspectives that are more critical of government than would be found in the likes of NST. Launched by journalists who used to work in the mainstream press, Malaysiakini conforms to the conventions of professional journalism. For example, it keeps opinion separate from news, values “scoops” and “exclusives”, and emphasizes facticity in its reporting. Between January and June 2002, Malaysiakini ran more than 70 articles in which the KMM affair featured prominently. Many of the articles were not appreciably different from NST’s. These were the news stories reporting the government’s latest moves or statements. It could be argued, therefore, that the government successfully set the agenda for the KMM story: it seized and held the initiative, and was the main – and often only – source of information. One writer acknowledged the difficulty of challenging the government’s statements, in an analytical feature published on Jan 12: “Public interest groups have been fairly muted, probably due to an unwillingness to question the official theory of a regional terrorist network in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary, and the sensitivity of the issue for the government” (Netto, 2002). Malaysiakini’s challenge in covering the KMM story was compounded by the fact its reporters are banned from many government press conferences, including that of the Home Ministry, which is responsible for police and internal security. For this reason, and the constraints of its small reporting staff of under 10, many of the news stories carried on its website were from the wire agency Agence France Presse. Despite these limitations, Malaysiakini succeeded in framing the KMM affair in ways that distinguished its coverage from NST’s in critical ways.

Authors: George, Cherian.
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ICA-6-10348
7
duo tell Suhakam probe team”; only in the eighth and eleventh paragraphs of the thirteen-
paragraph story are the two men quoted as denying any intention of using their Mujahidin
weapons training in Malaysia.
The framing of militancy in Malaysiakini.com
Malaysiakini is a website providing daily coverage of Malaysian social and
political issues. It presents itself as an independent, nonpartisan source of news and
opinion. In the Malaysian context, where state hegemony is exercised over and through
the mainstream press, Malaysiakini’s niche is in offering perspectives that are more
critical of government than would be found in the likes of NST. Launched by journalists
who used to work in the mainstream press, Malaysiakini conforms to the conventions of
professional journalism. For example, it keeps opinion separate from news, values
“scoops” and “exclusives”, and emphasizes facticity in its reporting.
Between January and June 2002, Malaysiakini ran more than 70 articles in which
the KMM affair featured prominently. Many of the articles were not appreciably different
from NST’s. These were the news stories reporting the government’s latest moves or
statements. It could be argued, therefore, that the government successfully set the agenda
for the KMM story: it seized and held the initiative, and was the main – and often only –
source of information. One writer acknowledged the difficulty of challenging the
government’s statements, in an analytical feature published on Jan 12: “Public interest
groups have been fairly muted, probably due to an unwillingness to question the official
theory of a regional terrorist network in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary, and
the sensitivity of the issue for the government” (Netto, 2002).
Malaysiakini’s challenge in covering the KMM story was compounded by the fact
its reporters are banned from many government press conferences, including that of the
Home Ministry, which is responsible for police and internal security. For this reason, and
the constraints of its small reporting staff of under 10, many of the news stories carried
on its website were from the wire agency Agence France Presse.
Despite these limitations, Malaysiakini succeeded in framing the KMM affair in
ways that distinguished its coverage from NST’s in critical ways.


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