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This report produced by the Federation of Malaya's Department of Public Relations documents its efforts to combat the Chinese Communist insurgency through psychological warfare and information campaigns. It covers the first six months of the Emergency from June to the end of December 1948.
EMERGENCY PUBLICITY & PROPAGANDA
Summary of Progress for the period June-December, 1948 inclusive
1. THE PRESS AND PRESS AGENCIES
(Detailed trends of Press opinion and comment are recorded in the fortnightly Press Digest produced by the Department of Public Relations).
1,175 Press Releases concerning the Emergency, Security Forces action etc. were issued during the period and received widespread publicity in the local vernacular papers and in other countries.
2. PRESS CONFERENCES
Since August, 1948, eight open Press Conferences, attended jointly by the civilian authorities and the Service heads, have been held at regular intervals in the Press Room of the Department of Public Relations in Kuala Lumpur.
These Conferences provide the Press with an opportunity to obtain a broad view of the situation and to clear outstanding problems. They have had a stabilising effect on public opinion.
3. PRESS ARTICLES
(i) Special Press articles on the Emergency prepared by a Public Relations Department staff journalist are now sent to British Information Officers in Foreign, Commonwealth and Dominion territories and to the Central Office of Information, London, for use in their world Press Service.
(ii) Special arrangements have been made to provide to labour groups publicity material to counter the Communist "Daily Worker" output and that of the "Malayan Monitor" and the World Federation of Trade Unions.
4. NEWSPAPERS PUBLISHED BY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
The Malay "Chermin Melaya" (30,000 copies fortnightly) and the Tamil "Varthamani" (15,000 copies fortnightly)have a wide circulation on estates and in rural areas.
360,000 copies of "Chermin Melaya" were issued in the period.
180, 000 copies of "Varthamani" were issued in the period.
5. LEAFLETS, PAMPHLETS ETC.
The total number of leaflets produced or in production for the Emergency Publicity Committee and the Propaganda Sub-Committee up to 31st December, 1948 was approximately 30 million. These are based on a variety of themes, co-ordinated to an approved plan and vary from straightforward news of Security Forces successes etc. to anti-Communist and psychological warfare types of propaganda.
Further details are given in Appendix 'B'.
6. MOBILE PUBLIC ADDRESS UNITS
(i) Mobile Units of the Department of Public Relations have addressed some 1,226,000 people in their own languages during the six months ending 31st December, 1948 on matters of importance in connection with the Emergency. They are in action 21 days per month and travel continuously.
(ii) "Talking Points" for the Units are provided by local authorities in addition to those on major issues, new legislation, anti-Communist etc. provided from the HQ of the Department of Public Relations to the number of 63 for the period.
7. MATERIAL FOR MALAY SPEAKERS
"Talking Points" in Jawi are regularly provided to leading Malays, Penghulus, Kathis, District Officers etc. for use in addresses at assemblies, mosques etc. Forty-six subjects have been covered and a total of 102,000 copies distributed during the period for the use of Malay speakers.
8. SPECIAL TOURS BY MOBILE UNITS
(i) Special tours have been carried out in difficult areas, up the Perak and Pahang Rivers, to Carey Island, Pulau Ketam, Batu Arang, and to groups of estates, in addition to normal operations.
(ii) 25,000 people have been addressed during special Railway tours arranged in conjunction with the Railway Department during which more than 133,000 propaganda leaflets were distributed.
(i) Radio Malaya gave publicity in all local languages to subjects covered by leaflets, communiqués etc. Talks on various aspects of the situation were also given; detailed figures are not yet available.
(ii) Adapted versions of a number of the special articles referred to in para.3 have been broadcast and also recorded and sent to the B.B.C. and Radio Australia.
10. FILM UNIT
The Film Unit has included Emergency material in newsreels, produced recruiting trailers in local languages for Special and Auxiliary Police recruitment and is now engaged on the production of a review of the Emergency, the action of Security Forces etc.
[Source: TNA CO 536/5136, transcribed by www.psywar.org]