Mass Media and Its Influence on Individuals' Voting Decisions

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Introduction
Malaysia recently underwent its 13th General Election since achieving Independence a little over 56 years ago. This election that was held on the 5th of May of this year broke a record when it managed to accomplish the highest percentage of voters’ turnout at 85%.
From the 13.26 million of registered voters for the 222 Parliamentary seats, 11.25 millions of voters turn up to cast their votes; meanwhile for State Legislative Assemblies, a whooping amount of 9.74 millions of citizens voted from the 11.35 millions registered voters.
According to the Election Commission (EC), this was the highest voter turnout for Malaysia among all the general elections that were held to date (Straits Times 2013). And through this election, the
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Some scholars believe that regardless of whether or not media does manipulate a person’s decision, it is irrefutably a powerful tool to wield. This sentiment is echoed by Ortelt (2010) when she said, ‘Whether the news media shapes public opinion or simply strengthens it, media outlets are considered to have powerful effects on voters.’ Her outlook isn’t new in this issue as there have already been established theories that support her opinion. One such theory would be the Mass Society Theory. In this theory, it brings forth the notion that media have the profound power to mould one’s perception of the social world and will then subtly manipulate one’s action in effective ways. According to Baran and Davis (2009, p. 54), this theory has the assumptions that media are able to directly influence the minds of average people, transforming their views of the social world and also that average people are vulnerable to media because in mass society they are cut off and isolated from traditional social institutions that previously protected them from manipulation. These assumptions are especially true during election period as most people heavily rely on media outlets such as print, broadcast or the internet to gain information on the candidates and also on the general happenings. Voters’ dependence on media for information will cause them to be more susceptible to the media contents that they were exposed to and in turn will

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