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Niki Cheong (he/him) works on research at the intersection of media, politics and digital culture. He completed his PhD at the University of Nottingham, UK, in 2020, where he investigated the practices by political actors in Malaysia engaging in the online manipulation of information, known as cybertroopers. For this work, he received the 2021 Best Dissertation Award from the Association of Internet Researchers.

Niki has previously taught at the University of Nottingham (both in the UK and Malaysia), Coventry University and Monash University Malaysia. He completed his MA in Digital Culture and Society at King’s College London and his BA (Hons) Internet Studies at Curtin University, Australia.

Prior to his academic career, Niki was a journalist and former editor of the international award-winning digital journalism platform R.AGE, which is a part of Malaysia’s largest English-language newspaper, The Star. His column, The Bangsar Boy, featuring socio-cultural commentary about Malaysia, ran for almost 11 years, and has been published as a book titled Growing Up In KL: 10 Years of The Bangsar Boy.

You can view his website here.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Political communication and mis/disinformation studies
  • Cybertrooping and state-linked manipulation of online information
  • Everyday digital practices on social media and messaging apps

Niki is broadly interested in the everyday navigation of (political) information in online spaces – including social media platform and chat apps – with a focus on mis/disinformation, digital practices, and digital citizenship in Southeast Asia specifically, and the Asia Pacific more broadly. He is also interested in how young people, including LGBTQIA+ youth, use digital media in their everyday lives.

He is keen to supervise PhD students on topics related to the above. For more details, please see his full research profile.

Selected publications

Johns, A., Byron, P., Cheong, N., Wijaya, H.Y., & Afifi, N. (2022). Report for, and needs of Marginalized Young Peoples on Digital Literacy, Safety and Participation. UNDP and UNESCO. Available online:

Johns, A. & Cheong, N. (2021). "The affective pressures of WhatsApp: from safe spaces to conspiratorial publics". Continuum, 35(5), 732-746.

Cheong, N. (2021). “Internet-led Political Journalism: Challenging hybrid regime resilience in Malaysia”. In Morrison, J., Birks, J., and Berry, M. (Eds), Routledge Companion to Political Journalism, Routledge.

Cheong, N. (2020). "Malaysia: Disinformation as a response to the ‘opposition playground’". in Sinpeng, A. and Tapsell, R. (Eds), From Grassroots Activism to Disinformation: Social Media in Southeast Asia, ISEAS Publishing: Singapore.

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.


Niki teaches across a broad range of issues in digital culture and society from digital politics, social media and global digital cultures.