Information Needs of Riverside Communities: A Case Study in Malaysia

By Yassin, Sulaiman Md | Journal of Development Communication, December 2011 | Go to article overview

Information Needs of Riverside Communities: A Case Study in Malaysia


Yassin, Sulaiman Md, Journal of Development Communication


The history of television in Malaysia began in the year of 1963 when government launched the first channel (Rangkaian Satu) and operated at Vunku Abdul Rahman Hall. Six years after the establishment of the first channel, the second channel (Rangkaian Dua) was launched in 1969 and in the same year, the operation center of the Malaysia television services was moved to fully equipped and modern building known as Angkasapuri; and until now, the operation of both television channels (now known as TV1 and TV2) remain at the same building. For almost 15 years, Malaysians depended on two television channels for information seeking; TV1 and TV2. Nonetheless, in 1984, another remarkable history in television development was made in Malaysia when the first private television channel known as VV3 was launched under the management of leading media company; Media Prima. Media Prima was envisioned to develop television industry has never stopped and they later established three more television channels known as NTV7 (1998), 8TV (2004) and TV9 (2006). In 1994, the first subscription television station was launched, known as Mega VV, nonetheless, albeit being the first subscription television station, it has ceased its operation in 2001 due to economic crisis. Later on, another significant history was written in the book, when ASVRO was established; the first paid satellite television in Malaysia. Currently, ASVRO is running 125 channels and divided these channels into 10 categories namely 1) high definition; 2) Astro Box Office (ABO); 3) Astro on Demand (AOD); 4) Entertainment; 5) Music; 6) Movies; 7) Kids; 8) News; 9) Knowledge and 10) Sports (Hussain, et. al. 2011).

In line with television development in Malaysia, it brings benefits in term of increasing the amount of minutes for air time. Data presented in Figure 1 has concluded that in the fourth quarter of 2008, all of the six free to air television channels have aired a total of 708,583 minutes of air time with TV2 (132,186 minutes), TV3 (131, 895 minutes) and TV1 (116, 471) are among the leading television channels. This amount reflects the potential that a lot of essential information had been disseminated and received by those who live in the rural areas.

Radio

The history of radio in Malaysia began in 1930 by the Malayan Wireless Society in Kuala Lumpur, and during that time it was aired three times a week. Between the period of 1948 to 1960, radio was used actively for the rural community development and as a weapon to combat communist propaganda in the rural areas (Hassan et. al., 2009). Eighty-one years after it was first aired, Malaysia now has quite a good number of radio stations. The radio stations are primarily owned by two major companies known as Media Prima and ASTRO while the government also has established a number of radio stations. There are also a number of radio stations that are owned by other companies as stated in Table 1. Typically, all of the radio stations have their own target listeners. Asyik FM, for example, are targeting aborigines as their target listeners while states FM are targeting local communities as their target listeners (Hussain, 2011).

Newspaper

The history of newspapers in Malaysia began in 1806 when an English newspaper 'The Prince of Wales Island Gazette' was published in Penang. Since then, thousands of newspapers either daily or weekly have been published. Amazingly, a number of those newspapers such as News Straits Times and Malay Mail can still be read by readers today. Newspapers such as Mingguan Malaysia, Metro Ahad and Berita Harian are among the prominent newspapers in Malaysia and as we can see in Figure 2, Mingguan Malaysia has almost 2.5 million readers in 2006 while Metro Ahad has almost 2.4 million readers in 2006. In 2009, based on Nielsen Index statistic, in terms of Malay language newspaper, Harian Metro was ranked first, The Star was the main choice of English newspaper readers, Sin Chew Daily was the main choice of the Chinese newspaper readers and Tamil Nesan was ranked first for Tamil language newspaper. …

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