2017 年 55 巻 1 号 p. 39-70
This paper explores the relationship between journalism and political power in Malaya during the decolonization era, focusing in particular on the journalists and their networks of the Jawi-script Malay daily Utusan Melayu before the 1961 strike.
Utusan Melayu was launched in 1939 by the Singapore Malay Union to support the Malay community. Under the editorship of the two prominent journalists Abdul Samad Ismail and Yusof Ishak, Utusan Melayu mobilized the Malay people toward the independence movement. Utusan Melayu played a catalytic role in the establishment of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and allied with UMNO to fight against the British. This strategy on the part of the daily made a significant impact on the independence movement and at the same time gave the newspaper an exceptionally high reputation among the Malay public. However, after Malaya gained independence from the British, Utusan Melayu found itself confronted by UMNO. The confrontation culminated in UMNOʼs takeover of Utusan Melayu and later in the loss of the latterʼs editorial autonomy. The loss of the dailyʼs editorial autonomy had a significant impact on the relationship between the media and political power after 1961.
The main question of this paper is why and how Utusan Melayu lost its editorial autonomy. To answer the question, this paper uses the memoirs and biographies of journalists as well as commemorative publications of the newspaper.