Press freedom and platform convergence in Malaysia

Over at East Asia Forum, Ross Tapsell analyses what media convergence could mean for press freedom in Malaysia, especially if there were convergence in the platforms used.

What will media convergence mean for press freedom in Malaysia? Press freedom activists in Malaysia hope that many Malaysians have quickly become used to expressing opinions online and through social media. If there is a convergence of these platforms, they hope that print newspapers will shift toward greater expression of viewpoints, including more coverage of the opposition.

But the government-owned mainstream media companies claim that internet-savvy Malaysians are not necessarily looking for more critical voices in the news. Rather, the appeal of media comes from live and fast updates online and through social media platforms. They argue that only the resource-rich mainstream media has the ability to facilitate all media platforms, and thus perform the convergence tactic effectively. They will also cite the previously failed independent journalism ventures explained above as further evidence that smaller media cannot survive in the 21st century media marketplace.

Is this a harbinger of things to come?