University of Leicester
2015HAIDABZPhD.pdf (2.19 MB)

Television News and Building of National Identity in Malaysia: A study on Multi-ethnic Youth and 1Malaysia

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posted on 2016-12-05, 13:32 authored by Haida Binti Baba Zain
This thesis contributes to the study of the role of communications in national development. It examines news item content used to promote a sense of common identity among Malaysians in the 1Malaysia media campaign and how different ethnically composed audiences negotiate the meanings offered in the media campaign material. The aim is to understand those patterns and structures in the broadcast campaign strategies to construct shared discursive positions on identity in Malaysia. To see whether these media discursive strategies are effective in addressing concerns and tensions in multi-ethnic Malaysia, the project combines this analysis of selective news content from the campaign together with findings from eight focus groups discussions with young multi-ethnic audiences of the campaign. The thesis investigates how the audiences' negotiate the campaign messages and the role that ‘ethnic background’ plays in shaping their engagement with its meanings. This study showed Malaysians accept in general the 1Malaysia concept, but each ethnic group in this country still have a narrow notion of the idea. Malaysians are still sceptical about the impact of the 1Malaysia over life and relationship among them. This study uncovers significant differences in the way audiences from different ethnic backgrounds read the same news content and argues therefore that social identities affect the interpretation of the campaign messages. This study, aligned with recent case studies in communication research, indicates that audiences are active and heterogeneous and informed specifically by understandings and experiences of living an ethnic identity in Malaysia, these challenge the discursive strategies and the wider campaign aim to build a single national identity.



Matthews, Julian; Dickinson, Roger

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Media and Communication

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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