Fair coverage of opposition

03 March, 2008 (NST)
KUALA LUMPUR: Contrary to accusations of a blackout, the opposition is actually getting a fair amount of media play. Opposition parties received between 30 per cent and 50 per cent play in newspapers in the week leading to nomination day on Feb 24, the Malaysia Media Monitors Diary said in a statement.
The New Straits Times was credited with giving up to 25.8 per cent coverage to opposition parties and up to 45 per cent for neutral stories.
The newspapers monitored for the statistics are the NST, Star, theSun, Utusan Malaysia, Makkal Osai and Malaysia Nanban from Feb 18 to Feb 22.
The Star provided 8.5 per cent opposition coverage, while neutral stories formed up to 29.3 per cent. Coverage in the Sun of opposition stories stood between 17.6 and 41.7 per cent, while neutral stories made up between 8.3 and 52.9 per cent.
Among the Tamil vernacular newspapers, Makkal Osai gave the opposition as much as 44 per cent coverage.
The Malaysia Media Monitors Diary said Utusan Malaysia carried only between 4.3 per cent and 27.3 per cent opposition stories in its daily coverage for the period.
Makkal Osai and Utusan Malaysia, both broadsheet dailies, gave the most extensive coverage in the Barisan Nasional’s favour.
It said the English language dailies also provided more coverage to civil society initiatives.
The story percentages calculated by the media monitors are based on the total number of published articles on the elections. They were classified as pro-BN, pro-opposition and neutral.
The media monitoring is jointly carried out by the Centre for Independent Journalism, the Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence and Charter 2000-Aliran with the support of volunteers.