Written by Balqis Ariffin
The persecution of the Rohingya, the stateless minority in Myanmar is generally considered as the most persecuted minority in the world, in which the tension has significantly escalated last year when violence erupted between Myanmar’s military and the militant group, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Subsequently, it forced the latter and its people to flee for their lives to neighboring countries.
Indeed, the internal dispute should be address as a contemporary genocide that was concealed from being exposed to the world. However, such immoral measure is futile as the incessant atrocities against the Rohingya community have sparked an international outrage and criticism towards Myanmar. Primarily, its de facto leader and Noble prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been widely criticized and condemned for her failure to address the crisis and also mentioned the situation as an act against terrorism.
Despite intervention and condemns by several nations, the plight of the Rohingya does not show any signs to resolve anytime soon, as the underlying crisis is more complex. It is universally acknowledged the issue of Rohingya is an inhumane practice of genocide that was somehow obsolete but is still used as a warfare tool in a contemporary culture.
Free Malaysia Today
Free Malaysia Today or usually known as FMT was founded in the year 2009, in which it is an online news portal that provides bilingual news to its reader. Besides that, FMT considered itself to be an independent news organization that emphasis on current affairs that occurred in Malaysia.
Basically, Al Jazeera which was launched in 1996 is a state-funded broadcast station that was established in Doha, Qatar. Besides that, the television station is also available in various languages and on the internet as well. Recently, it was subjected amongst the request outlined by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to cease the television station operation to resolve diplomatic crisis. However, such mandate was rejected by the Qatar government as it was considered as an internal affair, besides that several parties have voiced out against such demand as it will jeopardize the press freedom.
Most of all, the independence value that the FMT promotes is evident through its reporting, in which it provides neutral perception on the issue of Rohingya refugee in Malaysia. The article emphasized on both aspects of advantages and disadvantages of seeking refuge in Malaysia, in which it provides a better life for the refugee and their family. However, the highlight of the news is that the failure for the government to recognize the Rohingya as a refugee hence they are not able to work in Malaysia since Malaysia is not a signatory to the United Nations 1951 Convention of the Status of Refugee and 1976 Protocol.
Besides that, the tone that was used in the article is not prejudicial nor damaging the reputation of Malaysia as it did not critically criticize the conduct of the government in failing to address the issue of Rohingya effectively. Despite that, the article still provides clarifications on the conduct of the government of Malaysia. Therefore, by analyzing the agenda of the FMT through its news reporting it can be stated that the article provides neutral tone and perspectives.
On the other hand, the article published in Al Jazeera is critical as it provides criticism towards the government of Malaysia, particularly the failure of the government to effectively address the plight circumstances experienced by the Rohingya that seeks refuge in Malaysia. Besides that, the manner of the article was written is somehow critical as well as it signifies negative values against the conduct taken by Malaysia, however, it emphasized on the reality of the Rohingya’s plight as it was reported with concern over the interviewee’s experience and statement.
In addition, it also provides various perspectives and statements on the issue ranging from president of the Rohingya Society Malaysia (RSM), UNCHR as well as the Prime Minister Office. Therefore, it can be stated that the stance that the news organization took as well as consider the ownership of the Al Jazeera is somehow priorities to highlight on the plight of the refugees, despite that the article is still trying to be independent by reporting various parties.
Basically, the article published in the FMT does provide a refugee’s perspectives through the interview conducted with two Rohingya refugees that have lived in Malaysia, therefore the information has provided substantial data reliability to the news. However, it is the only citation that is available in the article, as it does not refer or cited any other news article. Despite that, it must be emphasized that the article was merely written by a news agency, Bernama and it was uploaded by FMT on its website.
In addition, the article also provides perspectives on the failure of Malaysia to allow the refugee to work. Most of all, the article provides significant findings on the plight of the Rohingya that seeking refuge in Malaysia, however, it is not extensive and analytical as it only reports the issue on the surface only, in which it was reported with a neutral manner.
Meanwhile, the article published in the Al Jazeera is more analytical and provides profound information on the issue concerning Rohingya refugee that seek shelter in Malaysia, this is evident as it cited a Rohingya refugee, an advocate for Rohingya community as well as perspectives by a UNHCR and Rohingya Society Malaysia (RSM) which is a group for the refugee that is recognized by the UNHCR and also the Prime Minister Office. Hence, by including various notions regarding the issue it certifies reliability as well as validity on the information highlighted on the article. Most of all, the news seems to provide various perspectives on the issue which somehow ensure its reliability and validity of the information given through its sources compared than the news that was published in FMT.
Other than that, in the aspect of transparency relating to the article that was published in the FMT, it can be observed that it does provide transparent information on the issue through the interview conducted with the refugees. This is evident as there were neutral perspectives on the issue primarily that living in Malaysia has both advantages and weaknesses that the government needs to overcome. Furthermore, the news also does not signify support towards any parties as there are absent from the elements of bias and prejudice that was incited against another party. Therefore, it can be stated that the article does not conceal any form of information in its reporting as it ensures that both parties has the platform to justify the issue accordingly.
Besides that, the article that was published in the Al Jazeera tends to signify the value of transparency as it provides in-depth and extensive discussions on the issue, in which it does not refrain from reporting certain arguments even though it is critical towards the government of Malaysia. Moreover, the news also possessed transparent elements which can be observed with the citations of various people that represent different background and expertise on the issue of Rohingya refugee in Malaysia. Thus, these factors have subsequently fulfilled the fact that the news reported in Al Jazeera is indeed transparent through its critical reporting.
Bemma, A. (2017, November 23). Malaysia: A Rohingya Safe Haven? Retrieved December 20, 2017, from Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com
Bernama. (2017, October 15). Life In Malaysia Way Better, Says Rohingya Refugee. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from Free Malaysia Today: http://www. freemalaysiatoday.com
Hutt, D. (2017, March 23). Malaysia speaks softly in the South China Sea. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from Asia Times: http://www.atimes.com
Shahar, F. (2017, November 18). Malaysia has a hand in prompting China-US to discuss security in South China Sea. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from The New Straits Times: http://www.nst.com.my