News Coverage on Malaysian Couple Jailed in Sweden: The Local vs The Star Online

Written by Farah Hanani Binti Sukri

The controversial issue that involved Malaysian couple, Azizul Raheem Awalludin and his wife, Shalwati Nurshal, who were arrested in Sweden on 18th December 2014 because they hit their children for not performing prayers by using cane has been widley discussed in Malaysia at that time.

The Malaysian couple received a prison sentence because they had against the law regarding the child abuse. The Swedish law is not the same as the Malaysia law, but as the media coverage, it might slightly different in terms of style of reporting.

This comparison of news reporting about this issue is to find out on how media portrayed or reported the issue and to understand each of the perspective. This is because this issue related to the difference in legal system in Sweden and it involved Malaysian citizen.

From the analysis, the issue had been reported few times in The Local. The Local’s headline mostly highlighted that the Malaysian Couple found guilty because of their action towards their children.

The Local mentioned “A Malaysian couple with diplomatic passports have spent more than a month in Swedish Jail, after being accused of hitting their children for not performing their prayers. The Parents risk ten years in jail”. Regarding the content of the articles, The Local put much attention to the law. It is because Sweden has different legal system to regulate the matters related to the child and all foreigners that lived in Sweden will be subjected to the same rules and regulation (Sweden Law). It will be difficult because of clash-cultures.

There is no conspiracy or hidden agenda as the issue involve law, it might be difficult to draw the line either Malaysian couple should be released or not. The news content said The case is not the first time in recent years that political officials from abroad have run afoul of Sweden’s laws outlawing corporal punishment. In September 2011, a visiting Italian politician was convicted by a Swedish court for assaulting his son while on holiday in Stockholm, a case that sparked heated debate in both Italy and Sweden”. This showed that The Local did not criticize or blame the Malaysian couple one hundred percent.

In addition, The Local headline on Malaysia fury after slap parents are held reported that the prime minister offered helps to make a press conference, as it could be the best way to defend their parents’ case. It showed that The Local did not hide single information, for example The case had generated much interest in Malaysia. A Facebook page titled ‘Bring Shal and Family Home’ and lobbying for the parents’ release, has received more than 17,000 likes or clicks of approval”. The statement made is to inform people that the Malaysian really care and concern about the Malaysian couple that had been jailed by the Sweden authority.

As for The Star Online, news portal from Malaysia, the issue also became top highlighted news as it involved Malaysian citizen in Sweden. The Star Online reported the news with the headline “Swedish court finds Malaysian couple guilty of hurting children, metes out jail sentences”, which the news content did not have any biased or propaganda in it. The Star also mentioned that the Judge Moller said “Most of the violence had been inflicted with the hands but a cane and a clothes hanger have been used as well”, which means that the Swedish law does not accept any kind of the aggressive action against children. The Star Online did not criticize the Swedish law but they managed to report the issue to inform people for helping out the Malaysian couple that had been jailed in Sweden.

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