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THE IMPACT OF MEDIA AND INFORMATION WARFARE ON POLITICAL PARTIES: MALAYSIA’S NEW POLITICAL CHALLENGES AND CONFLICTS AFTER GENERAL ELECTION 2013

Research overview

Media and information warfare are significant in influencing the perception of the audience in relation to a particular topic, entity, or group . Media effect has been a prime concern in different study domains to determine its impact in a broad range of dimensions. The relationship between media and politics has always been crucial and rather undeniable. Media helps in connecting the individuals to the world and represents the identity of society. Critics have argued that an inverse relation exists between the impact of media on political progress.

The influence of media and information on political procedures is dependent on various factors that are significant in determining whether media has influenced political process in positive or negative way. These factorial dimensions include background of situation, political status, religion, and traditions in a country. These dimensions also affect the way things are prevailing and accepted in a society. For example, countries like United Kingdom and North America tend to have a stronger relationship with the media. Media is considered as a significant medium of interaction with the general public and stakeholders of government and expressing their opinions to authoritative figures. Contrastingly, countries having monarchy system and conservative way of thinking perceive everything as acceptable and true whatever media represents. This is due to the fact that media holds strong influential power to direct the actions of public and their opinions. Due to strong adherence to media as sole information providing medium, people tend to be obstruct in limiting their decisions and believes to the perceptive level of selective thinking created by media as external influence. However, differences in media approach to influence outcomes and outcomes that arise somehow created a conflict in terms of determining the authenticity of material that is present on media. In Malaysia media has influenced both public and political parties causing conflicts among the audience.

The presence of cyber warriors is claimed to have caused countless conflicts among the political parties as well as the general public. The cyber war team has gone overboard by inciting ethnicity and hatred among the members of the public. This has ignited misunderstandings as the information presented by the team is questionable hence the potential to bring about conflicts among political parties and to the public in general.

Research questions

The research would be based on two major research questions namely:

  1. What role doe the media and information play on the warfare in politics?

This question was designed in order to bring out the clear role of media and information in developing conflicts among the Malaysian political parties especially the ruling and the opposition parties in the government.

  1. What is the perception of media by the public?

The significance of this question is to help understand how the media and the public relate. This would help in determining how effective is media in influencing people’s decisions when it comes to political issues.

Problem statement

Since ancient times, the states have engaged in propaganda by the most varied processes in efforts to exalt the glory of the sovereign or promote hatred of the enemy. This propaganda has played part in changing the dimensions with appearance. In the modern day printing has brought to the forefront the print media, press and publishing. Today, after the radio made a foreground speech, the picture has emerged, first with film and then with the television pending the ongoing revolution in the digital technology and the internet.

These media has played a major role in the politics of Malaysia and has contributed to the numerous conflicts between various political parties. The impact of media and information is experienced all over the Malaysian countries especially on the negative side.

In Malaysia exists cyber warriors that has been spreading propaganda and inciting hatred among the public. This has caused havoc in the country with various political parties as well as public organizations call for ban of the group that is responsible for cyber war. This is as a result of media and information in misuse.

Major approaches/theoretical rationale

The project was laid on the basis theoretical and conceptual rationale framework. The first stage of the process was the regression analysis of the data regarding the impact of media and information warfare. This is important in understanding the impact of media and information in Malaysian political parties and their relationships. The second stage in theoretical framework was the repetition of the study analyzing the impact of media and information on politics and to investigate other variables of media.

Significance of the research

The research is significant to the society in numerous ways. The research is helps the society understand how the media works and why it works how it works. Further, the research sheds light on both the negative and positive sides of media and information for the sake of well being of the community. When the public understand how the media plays around with information to influence the public, then the people of that particular community will analyze and critic every bit of information presented to them by the media. This would reduce the conflicts between political parties in the government because people as well as political party leaders understand the role of media and information.

Furthermore, the research is helpful to the academic arena. The students pursuing media and communication as well as political science will get to understand the role of media and information. It will therefore lay basis for further research in political science faculties. The topic of media impact is not only significant in the media courses and faculty but also inn other faculties as well because media affects all spheres of life and so is information.

Literature Review

The media is an active factor of warfare since the initial use of German press, cinemas reels and radio by the Nazis. Through the weekly and monthly propaganda there was legitimization of war invasion and later as a disinformation ploy of the enemy. Obviously the most effective in this regard, and with greater expertise used by the Nazis, was the radio, media that played a dual role: providing false information to the people who were to be invaded to not be alarmed or resist, and to convey key information to its employees during the invasion, with slogans and messages of all types against which the people had no way to react. What makes his appearance with the war in Vietnam is the presence of television, providing nearly instantaneous images of the war, which will strongly contradictory effects in the American population: the mentality of the sixties transformed images which, in large measure, it wanted war propaganda, true boomerang against the Government and the war in much of the population, especially among young people.

With focus on Malaysia, media has contributed to the present condition of the Malaysian countries in politics. The media and information warfare has brought conflicts between various political parties among them the ruling Barisan Nasional which comprises of UMNO, MIC and MCA and the opposition party Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) comprising of Democratic party (DAP) and PAS (parti Islam Se-Malaya and they are all under one name the Pakatan Rakyat. This is indication  that information warfare will not only be fought in the combat country but also in places where media has maintained a strong independence from the government. This is evident in that as the wars were on some televisions aired news and programs that were openly critical. The media has contributed in the conflicts in the political arena in Malaysia both positively and negatively. Media can express some positive information about a particular party and negative information about another political party. This may trigger conflicts as each party is seeking fair representation to the public by the media. Further, each party may want the media to air the best about itself and the opposite of their counterparts. For example, in Malaysia, BN which is the ruling party would not entertain competition or criticism from other political parties. On the other hand, PKR which is the acting opposition party seeks to criticize government’s ruling party in every move and progress they make.

Media and information warfare affects the visibility of the actors, in recognition of the evolution of the confrontation, in the revelation of numerous events that would otherwise go unnoticed. But it also has a game in the generation of fear, in strengthening the hegemony or the possibilities of promoting public debate, in contexts usually taken by the confusion and intolerance. The media, then, have a growing presence. They are one of the social conflicts that are represented and that they are made up from their turmoil and lawlessness. However, the forms of representation have varied according to the actual transformation of the media. The writing of wars has been replaced by electronic versions, marked, in turn, the speed, simultaneity, instantaneous and live broadcasts.

Positioning of the research

The research is mainly based on the texts that address issues to do with media and information warfare. There are various literature  both on published and online addressing the issues of media and information warfare. For example, the book by Freedman called War and the Media has several chapters talking about media and information warfare in Thussu. This is a similar case as it is in Malaysia hence the significance of such material i this research. However, there are countless academic materials on the impact of media on politics and contribution of information towards war and conflicts.

Research design and methodology

The research will be based on both the primary and secondary search. The secondary search will include the search of materials on media and information and their relationship and contributions to war and conflicts. And on the other hand, the primary research will include deriving information from the public. This will call for interviews and use of questionnaires among others.

For primary search, the project will make use of interviews where approximately hundred members of public will be interviewed on one on one and others will fill designed questionnaires. Five members and officials of the government parties both the ruling and the opposition will be interviewed as well. This will provide the information on how media and information is perceived by the public and the political parties in Malaysia.

Secondary research will be used as research technique for this research.  The internet publications, studies on similar subjects and article have all been considered for this research. This research began with existing literature detailed analysis. The final conclusions would be drawn from the analysis of secondary data available on the internet and other secondary sources. Since this research is based on a broad subject, secondary research methodology is the best methodology available which can be used for such research subject. The literature review and the conclusion of the research are deduced from the secondary sources and the data will be extracted from the sources written in the reference list.

The reason for using qualitative research is that it is more subjective and in order to collect information many different methods are used. This research has open ended and exploratory research and as already mentioned above it is based on secondary data. Theoretical framework of secondary data will be used as a method of investigation in this research. The reliability and validity of the research is ensured through detailed analysis of secondary data. One of the most important reason is that this research is not very expensive and information can be collected easily just at a click of the mouse. This research is more useful when quantitative research is not required and research is based more on the qualitative data. The existing publications, articles and similar studies accessible on the internet are all considered to reach to a meaningful conclusion.

Qualitative research will also be employed in the research. This approach is much more subjective when compared to quantitative research because it employs unlike methods for data accumulation and analysis. The methods are primarily interpersonal, in-depth consultations and focus groups. This method has an exploratory and open ended nature allowing interviewing small groups of people in depth as well as conducting comparatively small groups focus. This method therefore it is suitable for the research.

The measurements of choice in the research are relevant to research topic and the publishing year. Therefore, it will call for search in both the public and private libraries to chaff data approach. However, there will be use of online databases such as sage, scorpus, and emerald among others.

The research is scheduled to commence on December this year and it would take two and a half years. This time would be enough to conduct all the necessary activities of the project and enough room for presentation of the project. The research will require time for analysis of the data collected as well as seek comments from experts such as professors from the faculty and other related faculties. This will ensure that the results of the research are of quality and worth presentation to the public.

Ethical considerations

The research takes into consideration the ethics of research. The main purpose for this is to acquire the authenticity from the public and to ensure that the respondents of the research give genuine information that would contribute positively to the development of the research. This therefore, calls for proper introduction of the research to the respondents so that they understand the importance of the answers they give to the research questions. It is also important that after the study is conducted, there should be a separate session between the respondents and the researcher(s) to clear the concepts of the respondents and complete their information which might have been left unclear and incomplete.

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This entry was posted on July 25, 2013 by in MEDIA, politics, society.
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