This article first appeared on the 10th edition of MARKETING Digest. To read the full interactive digital magazine, head on over to https://issue10.marketingdigest.com.my/
“A platform for everyone, mouthpiece for no one”
Malaysia’s most reliable news source, Free Malaysia Today, an advertiser’s gold mine
Independent journalism in Malaysia has been on the defensive since the trend toward private ownership of newspaper groups started emerging in the late 1980s. This trend, combined with the government’s increasingly hardening attitude towards media freedom since the reformasi movement, which took place in the mid 1990s, has impeded any significant media liberalisation in Malaysia.
In April, the news that Malaysia had plunged 18 places in Reporters Without Borders’ annual press freedom ranking for 2021 raised valid concerns on the state of the country’s media scene as the ranking marked the steepest drop from last year among all countries.
One of Malaysia’s very few independent news outlets, Free Malaysia Today (FMT), is determined to change the narrative surrounding Malaysia’s media scene by shaking things up and leading by example.
FMT started in 2010. Since then, FMT has grown from a small alternative media platform to a leading digital news publisher with one of the highest readership (for English medium) at an average of five to eight million monthly visitors, taking in the top spot in February 2021.
“When we talk about changing the game, we want to set a culture that values critical thinking in storytelling,” said Managing Director of FMT, Azeem Abu Bakar. “Gone are the days where the state had iron-clad control over the media and so the time is ripe for change in how the media industry works and at FMT, we’re showing that it is possible to create a platform for all and a mouthpiece for none.”
FMT’s impressive engagement with its audience doesn’t stop at its website. Leveraging its Facebook and Instagram accounts, FMT delivers news to over 800,000 and 72,000 followers respectively. On its Facebook alone, FMT has a 3 million reach and 6.1 million engagements, and over 300,000 subscribers on YouTube.
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