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AW Malaysians Turn to The Sun
By Kapal Berita
30/9/2000 11:52 am Sat
Saya memetik rencana ini bukan kerana saya menyokong segala
isi yang dipaparkannya. Ada bahagian yang say a kurang setuju.
Tujuan utama rencana ini disiarkan adalah untuk membongkar
nasib akhbar tempatan yang sudah di'ikat tangan'.
Perhatikan edaran NST yg merosot:
New Straits Times (NST) 163,287 turun 139,001
New Sunday TImes 186,918 turun 161,948.
Tahun ini sahaja terdapat beberapa petukaran 'imej'
oleh NST - baik ketuanya mahupun hiasan dan cogankata
akhbar mereka. Malangnya ia masih tidak berguna....
NST kini sudah menyiarkan waktu solat dimuka depan -
Adakah ini dibuat setelah mereka membaca komen saya?
Saya ada mengkritik mereka tidak lama dulu mengapa akhbar
malaysia begitu malas mencetak jadual waktu solat tetapi
rajin pula mencetak gambar2 yang memberahikan serta
gambar botol arak. Selain itu kebanyakkan pengarang
mereka bukan melayu atau menyamar nama bukan melayu?.
Kadir Jasin sudah dihantar menerajui Bernama beberapa
minggu yang lalu. Kini ia dibawah pengurusan baru(a)
tetapi isinya masih tidak laku. Sebabnya mudah sahaja -
ada ulat dalam bulu.
Malaysians Turn to The Sun
The saga of Anwar Ibrahim may have just about disappeared from the
pages of Malaysia's newspapers, but from his prison cell the former
deputy premier is still shaping some publications' fortunes. The main
loser, in circulation terms, has been the pro-government New Straits
Times, which has paid the price for misreading the public mood about
Anwar's dismissal and prosecution. The winner is the uppity, though
still conservative The Sun, which has jumped into the middle ground
vacated by the mainstream press.
Says Zaharom Nain, lecturer in Communication Studies at the
Science University of Malaysia: "Some people switched to The Sun
after the sacking of Anwar out of disgust with the way things were
depicted in the mainstream media. The credibility of the Malaysian
media is at its lowest. Readers are very cynical and want more
critical reports, analysis and transparency - not just toeing the
Launched in 1993, The Sun has been steadily increasing its
readership and influence. Circulation rose from an average of 77,328
in June 1997 to 82,474 in June 1999 - a period that covers some of
the major early moments of the Anwar drama. By comparison, sales of
the 150-year-old New Straits Times (NST) daily fell from 163,287 to
139,001 in the same period. Sunday circulation dropped back from
186,918 to 161,948. Sales of the 29-year-old Star daily and Sunday
were 235,641 and 262,306, respectively, in June 1999, both up.
The Sun is hoping to grow further this year. In changes that began in
February, the tabloid has a new editor-in-chief (Ho Kay Tat), a new
managing director (Tan Boon Kean), new owners (subject to
approval, Phileo Allied's Tong Kooi Ong is taking over) and a new
look (introduced in June for the Sunday edition and in August for the
daily). "Give us one year for circulation to top 100,000," says
managing director Tan. Michael Yeoh, CEO of the Asian Strategy
and Leadership Institute, also sees strong growth ahead. "The Sun
has the potential to overtake the NST and could be a strong rival to
the Star over the next five years," he says.
Sun executives believe expectations of what the media should be
delivering have changed since the advent of straight-talking online
publications such as Malaysiakini and Agenda Malaysia, which are
not subject to government censorship. Sun readers are offered a wide
range of opinions, particularly in the Sunday edition's Comment &
On Sept. 24, think-tanker Abdul Razak Baginda called for less
crowing and a better sense of proportion about Malaysian
achievements, lecturer and former merchant banker Radzuan Halim
urged a cap on defamation awards, and social psychologist Askiah
Adam declared that there was "no need" for a proposed Restoration
of Islamic Faith Bill, which penalizes "deviationism" and apostasy. A
week earlier, lawyer Karim Raslan had warned of "a fate that must not
happen to us" - referring to Iranian and Pakistani friends' complaints
about "embattled and deeply corrupt secular administrations clinging
onto power, emboldened clerics and independent institutions
crumbling under the weight of an unbridled executive."
(Komen... amat malang orang bernama Islam sendiri sanggup
melihat orang melayu meninggalkan ugama (murtad) - jika
fenomena itu berlaku kepada anak mereka sendiri apa agaknya
rasa mereka. Bayangkan jika tak ada orang solat mayat untuknya...)
Syed Arabi Idid, a professor in the Communication Department at the
International Islamic University of Malaysia, describes The Sun as
"slightly better" than the mainstreamers on political coverage. He
calculates that during last November's general elections, the NST
and Star devoted 80% of their space to the ruling Barisan Nasional
coalition. With The Sun, it was about 70% - not exactly balanced,
but in a country where papers are sometimes craven in their support
of the government, it almost passes as even-handed.
Editor-in-chief Ho says: "We try to report the news and avoid mixing
editorializing with reporting. We know where the limits are. We try to
push them but we also know when not to push." He admits to
occasional "run-ins" with the owners over the treatment of certain
stories, but insists the proprietors are not involved in day-to-day
editorial operations. But the owners are not the only people the
editorial bosses have to take into account. Newspapers are
constrained by a yearly license required from the Home Ministry. And
that can be a problem - as feisty alternative publications Ekslusif,
Detik and Al-Wasilah found out. They went out of business this year
when their licenses were not renewed.
If The Sun can avoid that kind of fate, its future may be shining bright. Lawyer Karim believes that once Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad leaves the political stage, the mainstream media will "take a big thwacking from the market." Ho says all he is thinking about is providing a new product for a new generation of Malaysians. But if Karim's prediction is proved correct, then The Sun will truly rise.