From the past until today, mass media is always a powerful tool and having a big influence among the peoples. No one can assert that mass media was bring zero effect to the peoples. On the 18th century, the first theory about mass media theory was being introduced. The theory is about how strong the media can directly influence the people perception and action. Over the years, there are many theories are being introduced.
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Mass media theories are commonly used at the age of propaganda and one of the most successful propaganda is Nazis propaganda during World War 1. Propaganda is to influence public opinion through the use of media. Nazi Propaganda was generated in many different forms of media such as radio, cinema, speeches, visuals, events, brochures and etc. Besides that, there are also many famous mass media theory being introduced like magic bullet theory, freudianism, behaviorism and etc.
There are a lot of arguments about the mass media theories from the past until today. Some philosopher disputes that media are bringing negative influence to the public, and they claim that media should be under control. However, there are also some theories explain that it brings positive effect such as libertarianism theory says that people are good and rational. So that, they support the media should have the freedom to report on everything and let the public to judge by themselves.
Although there many debates about the usage of mass media, but no one can deny or underestimate the power of mass media. Mass media play as an important tool in nowadays, and there are no advanced countries banned the media. In fact, this means that every advanced country also rely on the media to communicate with their citizen. Media work as a tools for government to spread the news and promote their latest policy to the public.
The mainstream media in Malaysia has always been perceived as an important agent of change for most of the government’s policies. The mainstream media are newspaper, television station and radio station. The mainstream media are used to encourage the acceptance of the concept by the citizens of Malaysia. On 16 September 2010, Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was introducing 1Malaysia concept to all corners of the nation. The concept is about the culture of excellence, perseverance, acceptance, education, integrity, meritocracy, humility and loyalty.
One of the main objectives of this concept is unity and integration. 1Malaysia aims to improve the relations among Malaysians, regardless of racial, religious or cultural backgrounds. As we know, Malaysia is a multi-racial country and the three main races of Malaysia are Malay, Chinese and Indian. Besides that, Malaysia also forms by several minority races such as Baba-Nyonya, Kadazan, Ibans, Eurasian, Orang Asli and etc. The concept of 1Malaysia is to achieve all races living together hand-in-hand in harmony. In addition, 1Malaysia is also the concept to achieve the goal of Vision 2020 which introduced by Malaysia 4th prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohammad. Vision 2020 is about evolution Malaysia to a fully develop country in the year 2020.
1Malaysia concept aims to strengthen unity, rejuvenate the spirit of unity and camaraderie among people of Malaysia. Najib said the concept would be implemented in an organized and systematic manner to ensure that no community was isolated from development of and kind. He said the concept was shored up by two main principles, which were mutual respect for one another and trust in one another. “When we have respect for one another, it means we have the open attitude of appreciating the concept of unity in diversity. The trust for one another will not come about all of a sudden. It has to be developed in an organized and determined way.” he said. To achieve development for the country, the people must have a positive attitude of acceptance among the different races that will lead to unity. In short, the concept is to improve race relations in Malaysia and the mainstream media play as a key in order to achieve the goals.
Propaganda aimed to influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political or religious agenda. Moreover, propaganda also can be used as a form of political warfare. One of the most successful propaganda is Nazis propaganda during World War 1. The propaganda being use after Hitler took power in 1933
Richard Alan Nelson define that “propaganda is a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotion, attides, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided message via mass and direct media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism – applied creation and distribution of such forms of persuasion.”
By focusing on the 1Malaysia concept, the theory was been used commonly in Malaysia. The people can always get in touch with 1Malaysia concept in Malaysia. The government is always propagandizing the 1Malaysia concept to Malaysians. Common media for transmitting propaganda messages include news reports, government reports, historical revision, books, movies, radio, television, posters and etc.
For example, we can always see the poster that Najib with the 1Malaysia significant pose and the significant pose was been recognized by the Malaysians. Other than that, Malaysian also can find out 1Malaysia’s logo everywhere. Moreover, 1Malaysia is also come out with a theme song, and the lyric is “kita satu bangsa, satu negara, kita satu Malaysia” and it means “we are one nation, one country and one Malaysia”. This all action is also trying to influence the public opinion through the use of media. They want people to remember the 1Malaysia concept and they remind people every day and want people to change their attitudes.
Political Economy Theory
Political economy theorists study elite control of economic institutions, such as banks and stock markets, and then try to show how this control affects many others social institutions, including the mass media. Political economy is the interplay between economics, law and politics and how institutions develop in different social and economic systems. It also says that to understand the media, one’s must look at the whole picture which includes the ownership of media and the control group of media.
In Malaysia, the elite will be the government and most of the mainstream media are privatization but all the media are related to the government and political party. In fact, Fleet Holding, a company which is under the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has the 80% share of the News Straits Times Press and majority share in Utusan Melayu Press. These two presses are also producing the newspapers which have the largest readership in Malaysia. Moreover, the company also owns the share of 40% of Malaysia television station, TV3. In the other hand, Huaren holding Sdn. Bhd which link to Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) have the share 58% of the other Malaysia English paper, TheStar Newspaper.
From this we can found out that the Malaysia mainstream media have a close relationship with the political parties. It was easy to reach a large audience by promoting 1Malaysia concept. The government or political party can show the benefits of the concept bring at the newspaper. People are more tend to believe what the newspapers carry. For example, “175 1Malaysia clinics by year end” are reported on the TheStar newspaper on September 15, 2012. In fact, when the newspapers always carry the positive news of 1Malaysia concept, it helps to gain supports from Malaysia citizens.
Authoritarian theory describe that all forms of communications are fully under the control of the government. Authoritarians are necessary to control the media to protect and prevent the people from the national threats through any form communication. As we know, Malaysia is an authoritarian country and all the media are fully control by the government.
Basically, the government has all rights to permit any media and control it by providing license. If any media violate the government policies against license, then the authority has all right to cancel the license and revoke it. In fact, Malaysia also comes out with a law which is “Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984”. This is use to control the usage of printing presses in Malaysia. Under the law, all printing presses require a license granted by the Home Affair Minister and require to renewing the license.
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Besides that, Malaysia government also makes certain censorship. Censorship is a suppression of any communication which may consider as harmful to the people, king, government and the country. The censorship helps to protect the rulers and authorities from sensitive issues. It used to protect the government to avoid been criticize by the media. The government has all right to restrict any sensitive issues from press to maintain peace and security in the nation. This was a powerful ability for the government and it helps to promote the 1Malaysia concept.
Agenda Setting Theory
The idea of agenda setting began in 1922 with Walter Lippmann’s Public Opinion book. The originally suggested that the media sets the public agenda, in the sense that they may not exactly tell you what to think, but they may tell you what to think about. The three consequences of agenda setting effects are forming opinions, priming opinions through an emphasis on particular issues and shaping an opinion through an emphasis on particular attributes.
First, it studied by the researchers, media use issues to influence the people what people should think about. And then media focus on the characters of issues how people should think about. The agenda setting theory are commonly used by the politician. The gatekeeper plays as an important role in this theory and usually the media is the one who play as a gatekeeper. Gatekeeper controls over the selection of content discussed in the media. The media only show you what they comprehend as an important issue.
Due to the Malaysia was an authoritarian country and the media are fully control by the government, the government can use the media to publicize the 1Malaysia concept. When the media publicize the 1Malaysia concept and it will become agenda setting theory. The media will indirectly tell the public what they have to discuss and what they have to focus. When the issue becomes a discussion among the Malaysians, it will strengthen the acceptance of the concept by the citizens.
Central to Marxist theory is an explanation of social change in terms of economic factors, according to which the means of production provide the economic base which influences or determines the political and ideological superstructure. Marxism encompasses an economic theory, a sociological theory, a philosophical method and a revolutionary view of social change. Marx argued that the hierarchical class system was at the root of all social problems and must be ended by a revolution of the workers. He believed that elites dominated society primarily through their direct control over the means of production, the base, or substructure, of society. But elites also maintained themselves in power through their control over culture.
The inequalities between social classes are still happening in today society. For example, the riots happened in Malaysia on 13 May 1969 was an important incident in Malaysia history. The incident make the government emphasizes on the economy balance between the races and it come out with a policy which is New Economic Policy. Although this incident happen many years ago, but the problem of social classes are still remain in Malaysia today.
The government member and royal family of Malaysia are call as the aristocrat in Marxist theory. In order for the government to maintain their status quo, the elite own the capitalism with their base. For example, Malaysia’s second privatize TV station Metrovision, the four share holder company was closely related to UMNO. The companies are City television Sdn.Bhd, Melewar Corporation, Utusan Melayu and Medanmas Sdn. Bhd.
1Malaysia concept aims to improve the citizen’s living standard to escape from poverty. In fact, the government is the one who control of the superstructure which are the media. 1Malaysia concept is also helps the government to maintain their status and their power. The government wants to maintain their status and also achieve the peaceful among citizen or bourgeoisie and proletariat in Marxist theory. 1 Malaysia concept is the best way to achieve the goal for the benefit of country or benefit of the elite through the ownership of mainstream media and control of the message production-ideology.
In conclusion, the media was always a powerful tool from past to now. In 21th century, media are becoming more powerful in this digital era, because people nowadays can’t avoid getting in touch with media. Media was able to directly and also indirectly influence the people. So, the government should always use the media in a correct way. In fact, the mainstream media in Malaysia has always been perceived as an important agent of change for most of the government’s policies. Malaysia government was able to make full use of the media and skillfully use the media to promote the 1Malaysia concept. In short, government make good use of media is one of the key to lead our country evolve to an advanced country to achieve the vision 2020 and also the 1Malaysia concept.