In established democracies, the Internet has become a powerful political tool used for mobilizing, fundraising and advertising. The Internet has taken on an important but different role in emerging democracies, such as Malaysia, where its use has been essential in breaking a half-century old monopoly on power by the ruling coalition.
When mainstream media will not or cannot cover important political stories, many Malaysians click toward Malaysiakini, or Malaysia Now, the nation’s most popular news website.
The site attracts 300,000 visitors a day to its text and video content in English, Bahasa, Chinese and Tamil. The languages reflect the main ethnic groups of Malaysia’s 28 million people: roughly 54 percent ethnic Malays, 24 percent ethnic Chinese and 7 percent ethnic Indians.