In Malaysia, online election battles take a nasty turn
Jahabar Sadiq of The Malaysian Insider
Here’s a piece I did from KL on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s election. It was pushed out ahead of the poll for obvious reasons but it might have a broader interest in how the battle for influence over online media has evolved in Malaysia, with relevance elsewhere.
May 4 (Reuters) – Ahead of Malaysia’s elections on Sunday, independent online media say they are being targeted in Internet attacks which filter content and throttle access to websites, threatening to deprive voters of their main source of independent reporting.
Independent online news sites have emerged in recent years to challenge the dominance of mostly government-linked traditional media. The government denies any attempts to hobble access to the Internet in the run-up to a close-fought election.
“During the 2008 election we were wiped off the Internet,” said Premesh Chandran, CEO of independent online news provider Malaysiakini.
“Our concern is that we’ll see a repeat of that on May 5. Can we really live without independent media on election night, given that both sides might not accept the result?”