Malaysiakini: The upstart that changed Malaysia’s media landscape
Tucked away in an ดาวน์โหลด slotxo unremarkable business park in a suburban district of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur is the headquarters of a remarkable experiment in journalism. It has come under attack.
On Friday the independent news website Malaysiakini was found guilty of contempt. It now has to pay a hefty fine of RM500,000 (£88,500, $123,600) . Its editor-in-chief and co-founder Steven Gan narrowly escaped a prison sentence after he was found not guilty for a similar charge.
The attorney-general filed the charges last year based on readers’ critical comments about the judiciary posted on Malaysiakini’s website, and later removed, a move with worrying implications for all news media.
Malaysiakini’s success so far, its very survival, are all the more remarkable in a country where all news media was once subject to government control, and in a region where truly independent, quality journalism is difficult, dangerous and often driven to the margins.
Back in 1999 Steven Gan and Pramesh Chandran saw an opportunity to create Asia’s first online daily news site.
They were both former student activists who worked at Malaysia’s The Sun newspaper, and had grown frustrated by official censorship through the requirement to have a licence to publish, and through extensive ownership of mainstream media outlets by pro-government interest groups.
“I was a believer in media freedom, yet we saw its limits in Malaysia every day we worked as journalists”, he told the BBC in an interview before the verdict.