Corruption and control: Malaysia’s muzzled media

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How does coverage of Malaysia’s latest corruption scandal differ between online sources and the mainstream media? Aljazeera reports.

In May 2015, investigative news website the Sarawak Report broke the 1MDB corruption scandal – millions of dollars allegedly misappropriated from the country’s development fund into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts.

Coverage of the story revealed something many Malaysians already knew: that the country’s media landscape is split between mainstream outlets unwilling to report such stories and online publishers facing increasing pressure to keep silent.

News sites have been blocked, editors have been called in for questioning and even foreign journalists have been detained in association with coverage of the scandal.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has also warned social media users against spreading “false news” in relation to 1MD, threatening prosecution and even possible jail terms.

Malaysia’s censorship record, however, hasn’t always been at the extreme end of the media blackout spectrum, the 1990s being the high point of its journalistic freedom.

The Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi reports on the difficulties of covering corruption in Malaysia under a government that is now determined to reign in the online media space.

Source: Al Jazeera

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