WRITTEN BY BALQIS ARIFFIN
The persecution of the Rohingya, the stateless minority in Myanmar has escalated rapidly with the violence that erupted again in August this year which saw its militant group, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) clashing with the Myanmar’s military, forcing the former to flee for their lives to neighboring countries.
Eventually, the continuous atrocities against this group sparked a global outrage and it has become the primary debate as Myanmar tries to conceal their practice of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.
Following a recent response by the Myanmar government, especially by its de facto leader and Noble prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, her justification has been condemned by world leaders as she failed to address the problem and even referred the situation as an act against terrorism.
It is universally acknowledged that such controversy is an inhumane practice of genocide that was somehow obsolete but is still used as a warfare tool in contemporary culture. Relating to this, the Bangladesh National Commission for Human Right is now contemplating to press charges for genocide at the international court against Myanmar and its military group.
Apart from that, further observation on the news coverage pertaining to the Rohingya between Al Jazeera and the New Straits Times showed similarities, particularly on how the news were reported. Attention to the plight of the Rohingyas was initiated by these journalists, describing the group to be denied of basic human rights by the government, and most importantly, their citizenship was not acknowledged in their home country, rendering them stateless.
Both news agencies also homogenously instill the notion that such violence inflicted on the Rohingya minority was a form of genocide, or ethnic cleansing by reporting the statements from world leaders and related agency.
However, such support shown does not affect impartiality, as both Al Jazeera and the New Straits Times acted as neutral parties in their reports on ties between the Islamist extremist and the Rohingya. To support this view, another article published by both Al Jazeera and the New Straits Times were referred to, and it highlighted alternative perspectives which served as a tool to defend the Rohingya community against any relations with the terrorist groups.
This is evident as the New Straits Times have published an article that cited Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s statement during the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in which he stated that the failure to address and resolve the situation has unfortunately created an opportunity for terrorism, knowing that civilians are prone to be manipulated and recruited.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera has also published an article which quoted a statement from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) denying any ties or involvement with extremist groups.
Perhaps, such situation has triggered a global quest as it reminded us of the notorious Holocaust or even the suffering experienced by the Palestinian, that was denied their basic human rights and freedom in their own homeland.
Most of all, despite persistent coverage and global demand for permanent resolution, the current fate of the Rohingya minority remains unknown if Myanmar still fails to acknowledge the core of the problem.