Good-bye, MalaysiaNow: Is the sun setting on Malaysia’s news portal industry?
“Due to our reporting, MCMC’s blockage of our website made me give up with all the ‘pursuit of truth’ nonsense we journalists tell ourselves. The truth is, nobody likes the truth, mainly the Datuk Seris in Putrajaya.”
(Focus Malaysia) – ONE wonders if the recent media censorship pressure imposed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on Perikatan Nasional (PN)-slant news portal MalaysiaNow has been the straw that broke the camel’s back and at the same time, inflicted the death blow to its three-year existence (founded Sept 20, 2020).
Or could it be a spate of financial hardship or funding issue that is so synonymous with today’s news portal operations amid an over-crowded playing field with every player scrambling for a tiny piece of cake (read as advertising revenue) for their business survival?
Or perhaps a culmination of both factors given that MalaysiaNow had been at war with the multimedia regulator over the ultimatum given to the news portal to either pull down reports on the recent chaos in Dewan Rakyat (the Opposition walk-out on Sept 20) or be prepared for “enforcement actions”.
Perhaps the rule of thumb is the need for every news portal to work along the above-stated limitations – to toe the line or practise self-restraint insofar as media freedom is concerned (whether one likes it or not), a pre-requirement for their owners to have deep pockets to sustain fierce competition and most certainly, the need to have a viable business model.
Whatever the case is, MalaysiaNow ceased operations with effect from yesterday (Oct 10) on grounds of financial problems based on the account of its former writer Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli. The news portal was last updated on Friday (Oct 6).
“My company decided to terminate all staff (16 employees according to its ‘About Us’ section) due to financial problems. We received our termination letter last week (Friday, Oct 6) stating that today 10/10 is the official termination date,” he penned a touching post on LinkedIn.