Comparative News

Written by Aliya Soraya

Issue 1: Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy

In June 2008, the former aide of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, made a police report alleging that he was sodomised by Anwar Ibrahim at a condominium located in Damansara. He made the report two days after the alleged incident and the case has been on going for 7 years. Since Anwar is the Opposition Leader of Pakatan Rakyat (PKR), the case has attracted the media from all over the world. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News was one of the media from that. As for Malaysia, New Straits Time also did their reporting in this issue.

In 2015, the Federal Court set 10th February to deliver its verdict. The Federal Court in Putrajaya is to pronounce its verdict in the final appeal by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to set aside his conviction and five-year jail sentence on the charge of having sodomised his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, seven years ago.After the verdict, Anwar has sent an appeal regarding on his sentence. As a result, his appeal has been rejected by the court. Anwar currently serving serving a five-year jail term after he lost his appeal at the Federal Court to set aside his conviction on the charge.

  1. Practicalities of the media

BBC was one of the largest media that did this reporting and followed the issue from the beginning. They even have their on-ground reporter to keep on reporting about the sodomy case, even after the court session. Throughout their reporting on this case BBC has conducted an interview with Anwar Ibrahim, ask him about the length of the imprisonment and his own opinion about the charge. The interview shows how BBC questions the scenario of politics in Malaysia. During the interview session, the reporter asked Anwar how he felt and Anwar’s answer was “This is the price I have to pay”. We can rarely see or hear this when it comes to reporting about the oppenent in Malaysia.

As we can see, in reporting the sodomy case, BBC was focusing to the scenario of the politics in Malaysia as the case involve the higher opposition of Malaysia. BBC also is more liberal and practice a high level of freedom in their reporting. This is because BBC is one of the powerful media among the media around the globe. Apart from that, BBC also quoted some expert regarding on this issue.

On the other hand, NST also mostly cited the prominent person for the case such as the counsel of Anwar Ibrahim, the federal counsel and also the judges during the trials. This is important in order to create a clear situation and make their reporting more reliable, rather than just wrote down what was happening on the case. To add on, NST also reported the scenario that happened in the court in details, with the times. As for the NST Online, there are significantly low in freedom of speech and expression in the news writing regarding this case. This is because of several reasons such as ownership and regulation within the local policies. The writing bound to favour government side and influence public just the ways it is. NST practically published the government statement explaining the cause of the legal action taken against Anwar Ibrahim. However, NST tends to provide some evidence in the news reporting as been mentioned before.



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