“Malaysiakini has taken advantage of the precarious space allowing comparatively free journalism on the Internet,” Tim Carrington writes in a report on the online news platform, which was launched in 1999 “in a country of continuous and pervasive media controls.”
The report by Carrington, a journalist, development specialist and member of the Alfred Friendly Foundation board, is called Advancing Independent Journalism While Building a Modern News Business: The Case of Malaysiakini, and was made available on the Center for International Media Assistance website.
Malaysiakini “has successfully increased demand for reliable and independent news, along with support for human rights, open government, and free expression,”CIMA points out in its introduction. “And it has built a viable business model that enables it to employ about 40 reporters, publish in four languages, and expand into video products and business news. These parallel successes, in a flawed media environment, are the upshot of courageous, pragmatic and innovative founders and well-conceived support from the international media development community.
Malasiakini’s success could be a source of inspiration for journalists in information-hungry countries where the Alfred Friendly Press Partners focuses its work. “Outside Malaysia, Malaysiakini’s ability to establish a credible and sustainable independent news operation online suggests there are opportunities for online journalism in dozens of countries that restrict and control traditional media activities, but allow somewhat more liberal policies to govern the Internet,” Carrington writes.