What Drives Online Citizen Journalism in Malaysia? A Reasoned Action Model Approach
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Citizen journalism is a global phenomenon that manifests in a variety of ways, depending on the political environment and extent of media freedoms. In Malaysia, it appears that citizen journalism has, over the past twenty years, contributed significantly to the rise of public discourse of opposition to some of the policies and behaviors of the ruling political party, the majority seat holder in Malaysia’s parliament since its independence from Great Britain in 1957. That majority in parliament has grown precariously thin, with the most recent national elections seeing almost 40% of the seats going to the opposition—which, in fact, actually won the popular vote. Until now, a theoretical basis for evaluating the behavioral reasons underlying citizen journalism has not appeared in the research in any context, thereby precluding an understanding of beliefs and perceptions that could lead to behavioral interventions that might encourage greater Malaysian participation in online journalism. To fill this gap, this dissertation takes the Reasoned Action Model (RAM) approach, a theoretical framework that has primarily been useful when examining health behaviors, and applies it to online citizen journalism in Malaysia. The dissertation employs an OLS multiple regression analysis for data gathered from an online survey (N = 2,020) that explores modal salient beliefs about factors that influence participation in citizen journalism in the Malaysian context. The RAM demonstrates an effective theoretical basis for evaluating drivers of participation in citizen journalism, exposing several key predictors of intention to participate, which include having the capacity to participate, possession of a smartphone, feeling satisfaction, and influence of friends, NGOs, and boyfriends/girlfriends, among others. Based on the findings, there are behavioral interventions that might positively influence the beliefs that underlie modal variables, with a view toward increasing intention to report online one’s views of government policies and elected officials.