Media of Brunei
The media of Brunei are strictly controlled by the government under Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, which has effectively imposed martial law in the country since the Brunei Revolt of 1962. News coverage consists of police-beat reporting, lifestyle features and community events, with little in the way of diverse viewpoints. Reporters Without Borders reports there is "virtually no criticism of the government". The liberal democracy watchdog Freedom House lists Brunei's media as "not free".
The privately owned press, Brunei Press Sdn Bhd, publisher of the Borneo Bulletin, is controlled by the sultan's family. Reporters and editors exercise self-censorship on political and religious matters.
A press law provides prison terms of up to three years for reporting "false news".
There are three local newspapers currently circulating in Brunei:
- BruDirect.com - Brunei No.1 News Website. An online newspaper and the largest online media information tool, and a pioneer in the field of online media in Brunei Darussalam. The website has an audience of 70,000 to 80,000 visits per day.
- Pelita Brunei - A free bi-weekly Malay-language newspaper published by the government's Information Department. Circulation is around 40,000.
- Borneo Bulletin - The sultanate's first English-language daily, published by Brunei Press Sdn Bhd. Circulates around 20,000 on weekdays, 25,000 copies on Saturday and Sunday.
- Media Permata - The sole Malay-language daily, it is published by Brunei Press Sdn Bhd. Circulation is around 10,000.
Meanwhile there was also one defunct newspaper:
- The Brunei Times - An English-language broadsheet daily started in 2006 until 2016. Its outlook is more international than the Bulletin, which is focused on community news. It circulates around 10,000 copies. In 2011, 15,500 copies (Source: Publisher Data).
Domestic radio and television in Brunei comes under the auspices of the national broadcaster, Radio Television Brunei (RTB) and KRISTALfm, the country's only commercial radio station which ended the monopoly of radio in 1999. Foreign programming is also available via a Direct Broadcast Satellite Pay TV service. via the Malaysian satellite TV service, Astro, is currently also available in Brunei under the brand Kristal-Astro.
There appears to be no restrictions on Internet use in Brunei, although Freedom House reports a local forum, BruneiTalk, was blocked in 2003 after contributors discussed the business dealings of senior officials. As of June 2006, it appeared the site was attempting to move to a different server.
- "Brunei Times to close over 'business issues'". Channel NewsAsia. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016.