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dc.contributor.advisorGriffiths, Maryen
dc.contributor.advisorPugsley, Peter C.en
dc.contributor.advisorJayasuriya, Kanishkaen
dc.contributor.advisorCheung, Mingen
dc.contributor.authorChinnasamy, Saraswathyen
dc.description.abstractThis thesis argues that the role played by the independent news portal (INP), has expanded since 2007 in Malaysia’s political culture, enriching the country’s traditional public sphere with new democratic features. It has helped to speed up democratic action by enabling oppositional viewpoints, and has shifted the traditional media landscape towards greater diversity, and the possibility of changing the government in power. The thesis uses Malaysia’s 2008 General Election (GE2008) as the case study to illustrate the power of, particularly at election times. Malaysia’s GE2008 almost caused the defeat of the Barisan Nasional (BN), which had been in power for fifty one years. With a less than two-thirds majority in the Federal Parliament, it lost five out of the thirteen states to the Opposition, Pakatan Rakyat (PR). It will be shown that the Internet’s impact in Malaysia is partly caused by the raised expectations of the ‘Internet Election’ era, where electoral conduct in some countries during the period of 2004-2010 was impacted by greater Internet access. As the national elections in the US (2004, 2008), UK (2010), and Singapore (2006) were called ‘Internet Elections’, Malaysian commentators used the same term about GE2008. This claim is discussed in this thesis through comparison. The thesis also argues that the popular success of led mainstream media journalists to rethink news-gathering practices and that the competitive nature of, for example,’s use of trained citizen journalists and networking with NGOs that was used to help produce the news. The thesis uses the concept of informationalism to discuss the emerging forms of news production, which transformed people from being simply INP consumers to becoming active information distributors. Further, the thesis argues that enabled greater political participation and focussed opposition to government; and that’s roles as a site of resistance, and its pastoral power have helped to increase Malaysians’ political engagement through active online participation and political activities. The thesis methods are qualitative: It uses textual analysis of’s news and a selected mainstream media online news website,, to provide evidence of the INP’s influence. In-depth interviews with media practitioners and other observers of the 2008 election period (scholars, NGO representatives and policy makers), identify a range of key perspectives on Internet regulation, major differences in news reporting, the key issues of public concern, and judgements on the INP. The thesis concludes that played a significant role in generating democratic elements in Malaysia during GE2008. Post-election, mainstream media news reporting changed to reflect the INP’s; challenges the ruling government were generated by a new network, the Third Force (consisting of middle class, Opposition parties, youth and university students, NGOs and civil society movement); and the government became more aware of issues to do with ‘the rise of the people’.en
dc.subjectinternet;; democracy; Malaysia; GE2008; independent newsen
dc.titleA study of the impact of the internet, and democratising forces on the Malaysian general election 2008.en
dc.contributor.schoolSchool of Humanitiesen
dc.provenanceThis electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
dc.description.dissertationThesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2014en
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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