Malaysia's 13th General Election: Political Communication and Public Agenda in Social Media

  • Published : 2014.02.28


Everyone has a voice and can broadcast it to the world. We hear about the old maxim of media do not tell people what to think but what to think about. Under this theory or approach, a key function of political communication is to make the public think about an issue in a way that is favorable to the sender of the message. In a democracy, political communication is seen as crucial for the building of a society where the state and its people feel they are connected. Thus, this is a study on how social media (e.g., Facebook, blogs, and YouTube) were used in the domain of Malaysian politics during the 13th general election campaigning period in order to set the agenda to form public opinion. The study found that Facebook was the most popular social media tool that political parties actively engaged with during the 13th general election campaign period. Apart from that, issues pertaining to the election were significantly highlighted by the political parties in social media, especially Facebook. However, other issues that were also important to the people such as the economy, crime, and education were not sufficiently highlighted during the election campaign period. This indicates that the political parties influence the public on what to think about using social media.


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