There is no doubt that mainstream media and social networking websites have ballooned over the past few years to encourage the acceptance of 1Malaysia Concept to citizens. The 1Malaysia Concept was initiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak on 16 September 2010, as a platform to build upon the unique strength of the diversity of multiracial Malaysia. It is the Prime Minister’s fervent belief that the preservation and enhancement of this unity in diversity will remain the country’s best hope for the future. So promoting the realization and greater understanding of the 1Malaysia Concept by Malaysians is extremely important for the mainstream media to cover by reaching citizens. This 1Malaysia program consists of 1Malaysia Shop, 1Malaysia Clinic, 1Malaysia Menu, 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PR1MA), to help the middle income group to have better access to house ownership and 1Malaysia People’s Taxi (TR1MA) aimed at improving the country’s public transport services and so on that provides many benefits and services that citizens can enjoy and save money.
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According to The Star Online News (“Understanding 1Malaysia,” Joshua Foong, 2010), various strategies, programs and activities have been implemented through the ministries various departments and agencies to promote the 1Malaysia Concept. In order to take stock on the effectiveness of the 1Malaysia promotional initiatives, the ministry undertook a random survey on the extent of the people’s public awareness, understanding and acceptance of the 1Malaysia Concept as part of the ministry’s KPI (MKPI). According to figures by the ministry, a total of 12,212 respondents participated with 82% from the number saying they were aware of 1Malaysia and while a further 69% understood the concept. The ministry targets on having at least 50% of the total population of 27mil in accepting the 1Malaysia concept this year. A statement released by the ministry said continuous dissemination of key messages on the 1Malaysia Concept will be a pivotal factor towards inculcating better understanding and acceptance of the concept by Malaysians in time to come. From here, we know that media plays an important role to deliver the government policies or information to citizens.
“We have employed various channels to spearhead the promotion. They include the electronic media (TV and radio), print media (newspapers, booklets, leaflets and posters), new media (websites, blogs, Facebook), face-to-face communication (talks, briefings, seminars) as well as cultural activities (acting, singing and dance performances),” said by Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim. Such dedicated programs and activities all over the country have received positive response, strong support and participation from all sectors of the community, heralding much promise for the future. (“Understanding 1Malaysia,” Joshua Foong, 2010). Despite the traditional mainstream media, new social media technologies such as facebook and blogs are being used by the government to promote and encourage citizens to accept this information, resulted the 1Malaysia Concept are getting popular.
While in (“Najib Urges Media to Help Promote Mederation,” 2010) our Prime Minister urged the media to play the role as a promoter of moderation “to take back the centre” and reclaim the agenda for peace and pragmatism. He said the movement of the moderates could marginalize the extremists, and that the media had a significant role to play in this quest. While according to The News Straits Time (“1Malaysia concept a great vision,”2012), the 1Malaysia Concept is a great vision in promoting unity not only to the Malaysian people but also to the region, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said today. He said the concept could help in raising tolerance towards the different religions, cultures and traditions as Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, religious and cultural country.
Another article from The Star Online News (“Najib: Translate 1Malaysia concept to benefit people,” 2012), Najib said the Barisan Nasional government had introduced various 1Malaysia services and products to assist the people, such as 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), which was warmly received. 1He said the 1Malaysia Concept should be translated into something tangible and benefits the people and not just remains political rhetoric. He emphasized that more 1Malaysia services and products were needed to help ease the rise in the cost of living. For example, specially-composed 1Malaysia songs and the 1Malaysia advertisement are aired daily via various TV and radio stations run by RTM. In Ai FM radio station, we can hear that the radio station everyday aired the information about 1Malaysia Concept in attempts to encourage citizen to accept the 1Malaysia Concept. For the private networks as well, they are tends to promote this concept and resulted the 1Malaysia Concept have been well-received and getting popular.
Additionally, according to The Star Online News (“Understanding 1Malaysia,” Joshua Foong, 2010), showed that, around 18,070 lectures have been conducted by the information department this year in 139 districts involving about 550,000 people. Booklets and leaflets on 1Malaysia have been distributed as well at the state and district levels to be used as handy reference. The ministry has also been working towards disseminating the 1Malaysia concept to all participants undergoing National Service training (PLKN).
From the articles above, we can see that various channels or mainstream media are being used by the governments to disseminate the 1Malaysia Concept that brings a lot of benefits to the citizens. Many channels have been covering this policies’ information to reach different levels of the citizens, and keep emphasize and re-emphasize the idea of 1Malaysia Concept is to harmonize citizens of different races in this country. As we can see that, the ways the mainstream media in order to cover 1Malaysia Concept is very neutral but had successfully shape the citizens mind gained the attention and the acceptance of citizens. More and more citizens can understand the concept for a better tomorrow.
However, in today advanced social networking era, we can see that more and more people are using social media sites to get news and share the information, such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and so on. Facebook is the top media site in Malaysia and there are 90% of Malaysian uses Facebook as their prime social media network. In order to attract more citizens get to know about 1Malaysia Concept, or even to convenience the citizens to get more information, it is found that there were a homepage of 1Malaysia existing in Facebook that citizens can get the information and share it among their friends around the world. Other than that, the government also created a website of 1Malaysia – The Personal Website of Dato’ Sri Najib Razak that intended to provide a free and open forum to discuss the things that matter deeply to us as a Nation. The website provides a chance to express and explore the many perspectives of citizens. Citizens can download the booklet as well from the website to get more detail about what kind of benefits that as a Malaysian can enjoy.
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In terms of today commercial culture, advertisements exist at anywhere and anytime. People are highly exposed with the advertisement indirectly. The 1Malaysia advertisement can be found in local newspaper, TV or radio advertisement as well as social network, shopping malls, billboards along the road and so on to make the advertisement intangible in order to reach everyone and their target audiences. We can see the logo of 1Malaysia Concept at anywhere especially in government webpage, government office, government clinic and hospital, banners of PROTON’S flyer and even can be found in the products of goods which is made from Malaysia. TV and radio are the most effective ways to make the citizens to accept the 1Malaysia Concept because the 1Malaysia Concept. According to mass society theory, media were seen as only one of many disruptive forces, cancerous force within society and have to be purged or totally restructured. Media have the power to reach out and directly influence the minds of average people. Once the people’s minds are corrupted by media, all sorts of bad, long-term consequences result – bringing not only ruin to individual lives but also creating social problems on a vast scale. As it is say that, people are vulnerable to media because they have been cut off and isolated from traditional social institutions that previously protected them from manipulation.
But in propaganda theories, media became the focus of attention. One of the common propaganda techniques is intended to make many people respond to the “information overload” situation pressured by processing the messages as quickly as possible, therefore by making mental short cuts. In addition, propaganda theory also is the no-hold-barred use of communication to propagate specific beliefs and expectations. For example, the slogan of 1Malaysia Concept in recent and past few year which in year For example, the slogan of 1Malaysia Concept in recent and past few year which in year 2009 – People First, Performance Now (Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan), in year 2010 – Generating Transformation (Menjana Transformasi), in year 2011 – Transformation Successful, People Prosperous (Transformasi Berjaya, Rakyat Sejahtera), and in year 2012 – Promises Fulfilled (Janji Diterpati). It is can say that the used of the slogans in 1Malaysia Concept is to make the citizens believe in, seek to gain the support and acceptance from the citizen as well as other expectations. In other words, the uses of propaganda attempt to change the way of people act and influence their perceptions. The social chaos initiated by media will inevitably be resolved by establishment of a totalitarian social order. In other word, mass media should debase higher forms of culture, bringing about a general decline in civilization.
While in modern propaganda theory, the argument of this modern propaganda theory is that powerful elites are so thoroughly control the mass media and their content that they have little trouble imposing their truth on the culture. The theory is facilitated by three factors i.e. an audience, the use of sophisticated polling and survey procedures, and the incorporation of media companies into mega conglomerates. These factors combine to put untold power in the hand of powerful business and governmental elites without the public’s awareness whether the information is true or not.
In conclusion, in nation all over the world, the media has to adapt to the political system in which they are operating. How much freedom that the media can enjoys is indicative by the political system that they operate in. In a democracy country, media and politics will always have close ties. Mainstream media is the mouthpiece of the government in nation to disseminating the information on government policies, programs and messages to the citizen. But because of the mainstream media is often heavily influenced by the governments and corporate stockholders, the news it reports on is often kept as neutral as possible or typically of general interest, to avoid losing members and the audience, therefore, they avoid reporting on controversial or sensitive topics especially topics about cultures and religions. For this reason, some people speak disparagingly about the mainstream media, arguing that issues of importance often do not reach the general public. No private-owned newspaper or radio and TV stations are allowed to discriminate the government openly and thus no dissident voice is heard. The government decides what kind of information the citizens should know and the government tends to control or regulate the media by laws but allowed a certain degree of freedom, as long as the media operates within the prescribed perimeter, it will not be harassed. Mainstream media is often associated with reliability and integrity, enforced by firm journalistic standards and the presence of supervisors and review boards who are supposed to ensure that the news is accurately reported. However, the mainstream media is also accused by some individuals of being extremely biased. The political leanings of major media companies may come out in the type of coverage it has, for example, and the choice to refrain from publicizing controversial stories may be viewed as a lapse of integrity. Social justice issues often receive scant coverage in the mainstream media, to the frustration of people who want to alert people to such issues. Because of this, more and more people are moving forward to look for other sources that allowed them to know the truth, whether the 1Malaysia Concept is really beneficial as a citizens of Malaysia. The internet has held hope for many Malaysians who are seeking wider democratic space, to enhance freedom of expression and democracy in Malaysia.
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