Niki Cheong

I am a PhD researcher based at the University of Nottingham, UK. I have submitted my thesis (viva in November!), which investigates practices related to online manipulation of political information by looking at cybertroopers in Malaysia. My research interest sits at the intersection of media, politics and digital culture/internet studies.

Previously, I spent about a decade in journalism, including six years at Malaysia's largest English daily, The Star. As editor of its youth platform R.AGE, I spearheaded digital innovations in journalism and led the team to winning international awards.

My column The Bangsar Boy, featuring socio-cultural commentary about Malaysia, ran for almost 11 years, and in 2017, was published as a book by MPH Publishing titled Growing Up In KL: 10 Years of The Bangsar Boy.

What I'm up to

AoIR 2019

I am currently in Brisbane, Australia, for the Association of Internet Researchers conference (#AoIR2019) where I will be presenting a paper as part of the 'WhatsApp: Safe space for activism or haven of information disorder? The view from SouthEast Asia' panel at 11am on October 2, 2019.

Journal Article

My latest journal article has been published (open access) in Social Media + Society. (Co-authored with Amelia Johns, May 2019) Feeling the Chill: Bersih 2.0, State Censorship, and “Networked Affect” on Malaysian Social Media 2012–2018. Click here to read the article.


I am currently co-Principal Investigator on the Decoding the Weaponisation of Popular Culture on Whatsapp in Singapore and Malaysia project, funded by the Facebook Integrity Foundational Research Award.


I have recently submitted my thesis at the University of Nottingham, UK, and am waiting on my PhD viva. View my university profile here .


In 2017, to commemorate a decade of my column The Bangsar Boy, a book titled Growing Up in KL: 10 years of The Bangsar Boy was published by MPH Publishing. The book features a collection of my past articles, a couple of original pieces as well as commentary from a host of friends and colleagues responding to my work.





Journal Article

Johns, A., & Cheong, N. (2019). Feeling the Chill: Bersih 2.0, State Censorship, and “Networked Affect” on Malaysian Social Media 2012–2018. Social Media + Society.



Cheong, N. (2017). Growing Up In KL: 10 Years of The Bangsar Boy. Petaling Jaya, Selangor: MPH Group Publishing.


Book Chapter

Cheong, N. (2016). “Propagate the idea of mutual respect”. In Soo, EJ. (Ed), Moderation (pp 22-27). Petaling Jaya, Selangor: Star Media Group.

Conference Presentations

Nov 2018
University of Nottingham

Clouded by euphoria: Freedom to express following the 14th Malaysian General Election

Political Science Association’s Media and Politics Group Annual General Conference 2018

Oct 2018
Lugano, Switzerland

Of troops and turf: What can Malaysian cybertroopers tell us about political astroturfing disrupting democracy

ECREA 2018 – 7th European Communication Conference (Peer-reviewed conference)

Sep 2018
University of Oxford

Of Troops and (Astro)Turf: The Malaysian Case

The Internet, Policy & Politics Conference 2018

October 2017
University of Turku

From a ‘tsunami’ of hope to the flattening of hopelessness: Mapping networked affect in Malaysia’s Bersih 2.0 movement

Affective Politics of Social Media Symposium; Co-presented with Dr Amelia Johns (Australia)

May 2017
University of Amsterdam

Faking It: Astroturfing, Twitter and Political Communication

Public Lives/Private Platform: The Politics of Twitter conference

Dec 2016
London School of Economics

Beware the AstroTurf: Why we can’t trust social media in times of crisis

Political Science Association’s Media and Politics Group Annual General Conference (Honourable Mention)

Dec 2015
Monash University Malaysia

Power of Social Ties: Twitter, Trust and Troopers

Internet in Southeast Asia Symposium


Digital Culture Research Network

Founder Member

The DCRN is an interdisciplinary network, affiliated to the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies at the University of Nottingham. As founder, I initiated the DCRN Forum Series in 2017, bringing early-career researchers from across the UK, Europe and Australia to present their work. In 2018, I had a leading role in organising the international conference Digital Culture 2018. I am currently involved in the organising of Digital Culture 2019.

Research Assistant Work

The Digital Citizenship Practices of Malaysian-Chinese Youth in the lead up to the 2018 General Election

June 2018 - Field trip with lead researcher, Dr Amelia Johns (Deakin University, Australia)

'Digital citizenship’ policies and the digital networking practices of diaspora youth in Australia and Malaysia

June and July 2016 - Field trip with lead researcher, Dr Amelia Johns (Deakin University, Australia)


Tertiary Institutions
2016 to present
University of Nottingham

Communication and Technology

1st Year - BA International Media and Communication Studies

Lecture on Social Media: Resistance and Activism

Political Communication, Propaganda and Public Relations

2nd year - BA International Media and Communication Studies

Researching Culture, Film and Media

2nd Year - BA International Media and Communication Studies

I developed and run two workshops on research methods preparing undergraduates for their final year dissertation: 1) Newspaper research and 2) Temporal issues in internet research

2015 - Present
The University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus

Politics, Culture and Media in Southeast Asia

Module Convenor (International Summer School module)


Communication, Politics and Media

Foundation in Arts and Education module

Monash University Malaysia

Media, Power and Politics in Southeast Asia

2nd Year – Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (including module development)

2013 - 2015
KDU University College, Malaysia

Citizen Journalism & Participatory Culture

2nd Year – Bachelor of Communications

Creative Industries

3rd year - Bachelor of Communication (including module development)

Introduction to Creative Media

1st Year – Bachelor of Communications (including module development)

Newswriting for Electronic Media

1st Year – Dip. Communications and Media Studies

Writing and Reporting for Print Media

1st Year - Diploma in Communication and Media

2008 - 2011
Sunway University College, Malaysia

Career Management – Marketing and Media

2nd Year – Diploma in Performing Arts

Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysia

Media, Society and Culture

1st Year – BA Mass Communication

Introduction to Marketing

1st Year – Diploma in Multimedia, Advertising and Broadcasting


Get In Touch!