Comparative news on the issue of baby selling in Malaysia between Al Jazeera and The Star

Written by Amni Ahmad

Illegal baby selling in Malaysia becomes a hot topic when Al Jazeera exposed the illegal activities on one of their documentary. The two media organisations that report on the issue of baby selling in Malaysia are Al Jazeera and The Star. In this article, the writer intends to compare how the issue was being presented on both media organisations.

The media

Al Jazeera is a state-funded broadcaster in Doha, Qatar, owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. It was initially launched in 1996 as an Arabic news and current-affairs satellite TV channel called Al Jazeera Arabic. Whereas, The Star is an English-language, tabloid-format newspaper in Malaysia, owned by Star Media Group Berhad, formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad.

Practicalities of the Media

Al Jazeera is the first media organisation that reported on the baby-selling syndicate in Malaysia. Al Jazeera published a documentary titled “Malaysia: Babies for Sale – 101 East”. The video was very comprehensive. The documentary started with the pictures of baby and the social media account that involved in the syndicate. The journalists exposed the baby-selling on social media by in detail as stated by the journalist where the buyers could choose the gender, colour, and race. The journalists also highlighted three parties that responsible in the illegal trading which involved web agents, doctors, and corruption. By this introduction, it helps the audience to get a clear picture about the topic presented in the documentary.

The journalists managed to interview the relevant sources of news such as Hartini, the mother who adopted her child by syndicate where the syndicate involved are including the agents, doctors, and migrants. The interview with the syndicate team was recorded by using hidden camera and the journalists were undercover to get the information. The journalists also tried to conduct an interview with the authority related to this issue in order to report from the both sides. However, their requests were rejected.

The journalists also used re-enactment technique to portray how the incident happened based on Hartini’s story. The re-enactment was very clear as the visual also accompanied with Hartini’s voice over. With the re-enactment portrayed in the video, the audience can understand the process and how the syndicate operated. In the documentary, the journalist also showed graphic illustration to explain the whole process of buying the baby that being told by the Filipinos woman. Each stage was accompanied with photos. This help the viewers to understand the process of buying baby.

The script of the documentary also can be easily understand. The journalist used simple words and easily can be understood by the audience. The music background also plays an important role for the impact of the video. Overall, the whole documentary is interesting and convincing as the journalists managed to provide evidence to support the statements. The documentary was not boring as they arranged the visual or story accordingly.

Meanwhile, The Star also reported on the same news about the baby-selling syndicate. The Star journalist gets the respond from the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar. The news report also presented the explanation by the IGP accompanied with several statistics. At the end of the news report, the journalist also provides some background of the issue. The journalist able to make a summary on what has been presented in the documentary. Some of the interesting information gets from Al Jazeera were being highlighted in this news report. This is essential so that the readers able to understand about the issue that being stated in the news.

Other than that, the words used in the news report also can be easily understand. The arrangement of the paragraph in the news report also accordingly which follow the 5W1H rules. However, in the writer’s point of view, the news report would be more interesting if the journalist managed to get another interview session with another authority. It seems that the party that response on this issue is not enough. The journalist also should approach the National Registration Department to get their response.

Both of the media organisations used different approach in their reporting. Al Jazeera made an investigative reporting and presented it in the form of documentary. This is very interesting. The overall process can be easily understood as it being presented in the form of video. Al Jazeera also managed to gather evidence and presented it clearly. The investigation carried out was very detail and comprehensive. Meanwhile, The Star approach is slightly different. The Star gets the response from the authority on the issue. The statistics revealed also were not really interesting as it only involved small number. However, in the three last paragraph of the news report, the journalists managed to simplify the whole content in the documentary published by Al Jazeera. There were no photos, videos or graphic illustrations presented to accompany the news report. It makes the reporting less interesting.

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