June 15, 2021

The Online News Market in Malaysia

Key Takeaways1/3

Out of the 32 news domains studied, only two sites presented a high level of disinformation risk, but many Malaysian sites lacked operational checks and balances.

The following report presents findings pertaining to disinformation risks for the media market in Malaysia based on a study of 31 news domains. Sites in the sample include English, Malay and Mandarin language media. The data provide an initial snapshot of the overall strengths and challenges that these sites face to mitigate disinformation risks.

These findings come from the research led by GDI with the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), from February through May 2021. The market analysis is based on nearly 20 disinformation flags that were assessed for Malaysia based on data collected by the CIJ and by an independent perceptions survey.

This report presents the average scores for the market sample. It is GDI policy that sites which are rated as minimum-risk sites are named and profiled in the report. However, since no sites met this criteria in the Malaysian market, no specific domain scores are provided.

The GDI risk rating methodology is not an attempt to identify truth and falsehoods. It does not label any site as a disinformation site—or, inversely, as a trusted news site. Rather, our approach is based on the idea that a range of signals, taken together, can indicate a site’s risk of carrying disinformation.

The scores should be seen as offering initial insights into the Malaysian media market and its overall levels of disinformation risk. The results are open to debate and refinement with stakeholders from news sites, advertisers and the ad tech industry. (The appendix of this report outlines the assessment framework).9 We look forward to this engagement.

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