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Covering Galas and Batu Sapi By-elections: Framing by Chinese Newspapers

Vol. 9, No. 2 (2013): 15–47.


In this article, the authors report the outcome of a thorough analysis of how Malaysian Chinese newspapers—Sin Chew Daily and Nanyang Siang Pau—reported the two last Malaysian by-elections in 2010, which are the Galas and Batu Sapi by-elections. These two by-elections were important because their results were considered as significant indications of the people’s confidence in the ruling coalition and the Prime Minister Najib’s promises to reform since the political tsunami in 2008. The outcomes of these two by-elections were also seemed as indications of the people’s voting pattern for the upcoming 13th Malaysian general election, which must be held by 2013. The newspapers were analysed with the objectives of determining: (1) the pattern of coverage; (2) the predominant news sources used by the newspapers; (3) the news frame used by the newspapers; and (4) the slant of the news articles. Findings show that both of the newspapers devoted a huge percentage of its attention to getting straight news stories from Barisan Nasional leaders, while episodic frame made the strongest showing on the pages of the papers. Sin Chew Daily and Nanyang Siang Pau were also found to have been neutral towards the parties and candidates contesting in the by-elections.

Author’s bio

Md. Sidin Ahmad Ishak is a professor at the Department of Media Studies, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is currently the Deputy Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the same university. His research interests include journalism, publishing and advertising.

Yang Lai Fong is a senior lecturer at the School of Communication, Taylor’s University Malaysia. She obtained her PhD in Journalism at Universiti Malaya. Her areas of research include media and ethnicity, new media and alternative media.


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