Accountability and Transparency

Updated on 30 Jan 2024

As an media organisation, Malaysiakini understands the need to be transparent about its ownership structure and sources of funding. Below we provide more information for those interested in these matters.

Shareholders

The principal shareholders are the co-founders – Editor-in-Chief Steven Gan and CEO Premesh Chandran. Together they own just over 60% of Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd, the company behind malaysiakini.com. The Media Development Investment Fund bought 29% of the company in 2002. Steven and Premesh and MDIF CEO Harlan Mandel form the board of directors. Among the rules governing the organisation, is that the board shall not interfere with editorial matters.

Remaining shareholders include current and former staff who received equity through a staff share ownership scheme and others who have contributed to the organisation, including four who provided the original start-up capital – trade unionist Bruno Pereira, social activist Joseph Paul, former human rights activist and now member of parliament Sivarasa Rasiah and banker Mary James.

There are no ‘hidden’ shareholders or sources of funding.

No shareholder is a proxy for any other party.

Funding

Malaysiakini was launched in 1999 through seed capital from its founders – Premesh Chandran and Steven Gan – as well as a number of friends, and through a US$100,000 grant from the Bangkok-based Southeast Asian Press Alliance (Seapa).

Malaysiakini takes great pride in its independence. Indeed, a truly independent media in Malaysia is a rarity – one which is free of government control, advertising dictates and pressures from its owners, among others.

Malaysiakini strives for such independence by asking readers to pay a subscription fee. We believe that a media which is reliant on contributions from its readers and supplemented by a diverse group of advertisers will be far more able to exercise its independence.

Both subscription and advertising contribute to the bulk of Malaysiakini’s operation.

Apart from Malaysiakini’s news operation, we have often been requested to help independent media and NGOs, both in Malaysia and across the region. After all, we have 22 years of experience in running a successful online media, considered one of its kind in the world.

To pursue this additional aim, Malaysiakini raises funds from funding agencies.

Over the years, Malaysiakini has received grant support from a host of agencies for its various projects. Apart from Seapa, these include:

  1. Asia Foundation
  2. Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  3. Dutch Embassy in Malaysia
  4. Free Voice (FV)
  5. Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNS)
  6. International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ)
  7. Media Development Loan fund (MDLF) – also a minority investor in Malaysiakini
  8. National Endowment of Democracy (NED)
  9. Open Society Institute (OSI)
  10. Internews Malaysia

From these additional funding, Malaysiakini has executed projects that include:

  1. The Southeast Asia Centre for E-media, which has trained and supported online media organisations and civil society groups in 14 Asian countries.
  2. Citizen Journalism programme, which has trained over 300 citizens from all over Malaysia in basic journalism and videography, equipping them the ability to highlight issues affecting their local community.
  3. Komunitikini, which works with citizen journalists to develop localised news portals. An online digital library, which provided resources for researchers, and an online database on general elections, i.e. undi.info
  4. Multiplatform journalism, which builds content across different languages and on various platforms (IPTV, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry)

Malaysiakini works with partners based on the following guidelines:

The foundations have an established track record of sharing Malaysiakini’s vision of a free press – one that reports issues of public concern without fear or favour and has the courage to hold the powers that be accountable in order to promote freedom of speech, social justice and democracy.

In line with the above, these foundations will not interfere with Malaysiakini’s independent reporting in any way or form.

All grants are below 10 percent of Malaysiakini’s total budget to ensure that the website is not reliant on any single source of funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

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