21 February 2008

Citizens’ initiative to monitor media’s coverage of General Election

Charter 2000-Aliran, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and the Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) have come together to launch an initiative to monitor the media’s coverage of the 12th general election campaign.

They will be assisted by independent volunteers.

As with a similar initiative in the previous general election, the initiative will keep track of the election news coverage and critically examine whether the media, both print and electronic, have been ethical in their reporting.

As citizens of this country, Malaysians have every right to demand fair media coverage so that voters can make informed choices when casting their ballot. It is thus crucial that we investigate whether each of the contesting political parties receives a fair hearing in the mass media.

The media coverage should be fair, professional, unbiased and ethical. What this means is that there must be:

* equal access to the mainstream media for all parties;
* fair and sufficient coverage for all parties; and
* the right to reply or to respond to state a position or to clarify baseless allegations

Apart from examining news reports, we will also study editorials, features, and political advertisements to ascertain if they are fair.

Observations and analyses will be posted on the Election 2008 Media Monitors’ Diary at http://www.aliran.com/elections

Malaysians and civil society groups are encouraged to incorporate the RSS feed of this Diary into their blogs, websites, browsers and aggregate news readers. The URL for the feed is http://www.aliran.com/elections/atom.xml

This is a voluntary effort by Malaysians for which no funding has been received from any source.

Dr Mustafa K. Anuar and Anil Netto
Charter 2000-Aliran

Wong Chin Huat
Writers Alliance' for Media Independence

Gayathry Venkiteswaran
Centre for Independent Journalism

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