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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Malaysian blogs didn't lead to opposition votes?

Came across this article reported by Asia One and circulated in MT - http://www.malaysia-today.net/2008/content/view/9000/84/

Must say I am surprised by the studies reported there. It did not match my own experience, and makes me wonder if this is propoganda-linked? What do you think?


(Asia One) - A STUDY of the Internet's influence on the 2008 Malaysian general election found no evidence that those who read blogs and other online political content were inclined to vote for opposition parties.

(Seng comment: Wow! Is this a serious Study? Or still living in Denial?

Let's ass-u-me for a moment that the Study is genuine - what could possibly be the explanations? Is the study design flawed perhaps? Or could it be that the vast majority of blog-readers were already pro-Opposition parties years ago, and so, there was no change a year later because they remained pro-Opposition, and because of this "no-change", the researches misinterpreted that as "found no evidence"? If so, what's not reported in this article?)

The study, by four academics from Universiti Teknologi Mara's Communications and Media Studies Faculty, showed that 80 per cent of respondents were aware of blogs, which were popular with the middle class and below.

(Seng comment:

University Teknologi Mara ... Must say I'm not feeling terribly impressed now.

Popular with middle class and below only? Perhaps the middle class and below is a naturally higher % of the population, and so the sample merely reflects population if one does a simple counting which might not be the right way to do a sampling study to test this hypothesis ...

I do however notice that investing blogs (not necessarily the same as political blogs) tend to attract a reasonably high % of high net worth investors (just a general impression) who are also politically astute. I wonder if this is in line with your own experience?)

"After making the cross matching, we found that there was no strong evidence that supports the notion that the Internet content had moved people to vote for the opposition," Professor Madya Baharuddin Aziz told Bernama.

(Seng comment: LOL! This is NOT in line with my own personal experience. What about yours?)

Instead, the study showed that the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which were thrashed at the election, failed to adequately address issues raised online.

The survey of 1,100 voters in four zones - north (28 per cent), south (22 per cent), east coast (19 per cent) and central (31 per cent) - showed that blogs were popular because they discussed issues in a different way from mainstream media.

(Seng comment: Yes. Blogs are interactive, and there is a real interaction between the writers and the readers, unlike MSM. Further the interaction is almost instantaneous, such as my chatbox. The connection is real and not distanced like MSM. Furthermore, most if not all blog articles are uncensored. Many are written from the heart, which enhances the connection further.)

When ministers and politicians also hop into this phenomenon, they give clout to blogs and online journalism, said Prof Baharuddin.

Among the popular blogs and websites were Malaysiakini, Suara Keadilan, SPR, Harakah Online, Berita Harian Online, Utusan Malaysia Online, Malaysia Today, The Star Online and those of news agencies.

(Seng comment: I'm not sure my personal experience agrees here ... Speaking for myself, I don't read Berita Harian nor Utusan Malaysia. The general feedback is that they are so pro-government that they can be sickening and potentially cause vomitting .... (smile) Just curious - what is your experience here?)

Prof Baharuddin said "digital media warfare" and the preference of the younger generation should be given serious thought, particularly with 1.8 million new voters in the next election in 2012 or 2013.



For me, I find that my own personal experience did NOT match the study.

1. For me, reading blogs over the past year has certainly influenced me to be more sympathetic to the Opposition than the BN coalition.

2. I did not read Berita Harian nor Utusan Malaysia at all, and so, not as much as the other blogs mentioned in that list. Whereas, Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today are probably the Top 2.

3. I also wonder who would want to commission a University study that concluded that Internet did not influence voting ... Here's an idea - why not commission a study to see in what way MSM and Internet reports the same event in different manner (such as Bersih or Hindraf Rally). Then, I would be very impressed with the relevance of our local Universities.

Which now makes me a little wary of the type and quality of the above study in our local Universities ...

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