Media sensation and politics

By Maryam Nasir and Athirah Mohammad

KUALA LUMPUR, 29 June 2020: Political Insights Season 2 was back with its second episode on the topic “Media Exaggeration on Political Issues” with a focus on how the mass media play its role in shaping people’s thinking and whether or not the media really exaggerate political issues. 

The discussion held on Thursday (25 June) was moderated by IIUM political science student, Sofia Tjatradiningrat and the speakers featured were Madam Mazni Buyong from IIUM’s Department of Communication and Mr. Zaidel Baharuddin from Centre of Governance and Political Science.

The discussion focused on the concept of sensationalism by the media.

In the discussion Mazni stated that the media actually need to compete for eyeballs, readership and views in order to get advertisers to come in.

She also believed that the media has its own agenda and it would depend on the editor to decide what to report on to the audience.

“Mostly a lot of frame issues are accepted and it is media play to gain crowd from the audience. Based on statistics, 10% of people are influenced by the media during the general election since it influenced voting behaviour,” Mazni told the live discussion.

Meanwhile, Zaidel Baharuddin said that the media is owned by those who are rich and who have power while social media is owned by everyone including the audience. It can be seen that a good media will produce good administrators in the country. 

In terms of the impact of media in political fields, the election or changing of the government itself plays an important role when it comes to politics.

Zaidel believed that elections have influenced how people’s vote by changing their perception or sentiment and it also affected how people work.

“The media’s function is to reach out to the people. Malaysia uses RTM as a government media. But in Myanmar, there are 9 areas or villages that don’t know about the Covid-19 since their political system restricted usage of the internet for its people,” Mazni added.

She concluded that the media surely have a positive effect as it is very helpful during the present COVID-19 pandemic situation. 

“The press conference by Senior Minister, Dato’ Ismail Sabri held everyday at 2 pm and another by the DG of Health at 5 pm really help the audience to keep them informed of current situation by bringing latest news every day,” Mazni added. 

This discussion has been streamed on IIIUMtv’s YouTube channel.(***

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