University of Leicester
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Influences on ethics in news production : the socio-cultural and political influences on the mass media in Malaysia

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:40 authored by Halimahton. Shaari
The thesis examines the approaches to the study of ethics in journalism, with emphasis on the concept of ethics as defined and practised in the socio-cultural and political context of Malaysia. The media environment with its social and cultural sensitivities provides an insight into the journalistic practices in the process of news production. Studies on media ethics have long been dominated by the moral-philosophical perspective which views ethics as a personal choice and decision. This viewpoint is relevant in the Western libertarian media system where personal freedom is a right taken for granted. However, it is too narrow to throw light on the influences on ethics in other media structures. In these media systems, other socio-cultural and political factors intertwine to influence the ethical conduct of news workers. The thesis contends that the practices of ethics in the Malaysian media extend beyond organisational norms and media professionalism as defined by the West.;The data for the study was collected by analysing three case studies covered in two mainstream newspapers in Malaysia, the New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia; newsroom observations and interviews with the Group Editors, editors and journalists of the said newspapers. The data leads to an examination of the political and social context that is unique to Malaysia which plays a significant role in influencing the ethical conduct of news workers. The study draws on the political economy approach, the cultural studies perspective and the social organisation of news as the framework to examine the internal and external factors that influence ethical decision-making in news production. The routines and practices of these media organisations are examined to gauge how they are affected by the political/government elite which sometimes wields more power than any other factor to influence media output.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Mass media

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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