Since the introduction of television in Malaysia in 1963, the Malaysian media have been deemed by successive governments as a tool to help promote national development plans and strategies. Following the best traditions of the modernization school, ‘development’ was – and still is – measured by economic growth indicators such as gross national product figures and improved transportation system, education and healthcare, among others. One of the major impediments to such development, as often argued, is the ‘counter-productive’ attitude of citizens. Hence, the people need to be informed and persuaded of the need for development as prescribed by the government of the day. At the same time, the people need to adopt change or development-oriented attitudes. It is in these areas of ‘informing’ the people (of the government’s development policies) and of persuading them to ubah sikap (change attitudes) that the media are seen to be playing a crucial role. The emphasis, thus, is on the psychological shortcomings of the citizens, while social structures which exacerbate or perpetuate inequalities are conveniently sidestepped.
Recommended CitationNain, Z., Media role in a K-Economy: Transforming media education in Malaysia, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 14, 2003, 156-165.