CNN and Astro Awani reports on Rohingya refugees

Written by Aliya Soraya Shafiee

The Rohingya refugees are stateless Muslims minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, expected to have about 1 million people. Myanmar government or also known as Burma does not recognise them as citizens and does not even consider them as one of 135 recognized ethnic groups in Myanmmar. The country denoted Rohingyas as illegal immigrants, a view rooted in their heritage in Bangladesh. Though many Rohingyas have only known to be living in Myanmar, they are widely viewed as intruders from across the border. According to Human Rights Watch, the laws discriminated the Rohingya, infringing on their freedom of movement, education and employment. Their rights and ownership to the land and property are denied and the land on which they live can be taken away at any given time.


Cable News Network or famously known as CNN is the first television channel that solely provides news content for 24 hours in America. The channel which was launched on 1st June 1980, owned by Turner Broadcasting System and in 1996, it has become the subsidiary of Time Warner Incorporation.

Meanwhile, Astro Awani was established in 6th September. Formerly, it was known as Bloomberg Ria News and Astro News. Now, Astro Awani is one of Astro broadcast channel.

Practicality of the media

CNN reported from various angles as they did not focus on impact of the Myanmar refugees toward one country only. It focused on how other countries will or should react regarding on the issue and how they will tackle down the issue in order to help Myanmmar themselves. Apart from that, they focused more on humanitarian helps from the other countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia. For example, in their reporting entitled “Migrant boat re-enters Malaysian waters after refusing offer to land: Thai officials”, CNN reported The Royal Thai Navy air-dropped food aid to hundreds of Rohingya migrants that were stranded on a stricken boat at the Southern Thailand. They also reported what kind of helps that were given such as medical aids from the International Organization of Migrants (OIM).

Meanwhile, during the cross-over studio discussion with Laura High, a Myanmmar Researcher from the Amnesty International, the news agency highlighted that Myanmmar Military was accused of torching Rohingya homes. During the reporting, the terms “blanket denials” by the Myanmmar was also being heavliy discussed, which also tells the audience on the political situation in the country itself.

Apart from that, CNN also urged the government of Myanmmar to allow the journalists to do the reporting in order to report the current situation in the area as it has been sealed for two months. CNN also higlighted that, there should be international pressures toward Myanmmar in order to solve this problem and only by this way, the military will called off this situation.

As for the Astro AWANI, their reporting focuses more on the Malaysian government only as most of their reporting mentioned about steps taken by Malaysian government regarding on this issue which can be seen in their reporting on “Malaysia urges D-8 to help Rohingya refugees”. In this reporting, it was said that Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said D-8 member states should assist the Rohingyas in whatever ways possible to alleviate their dire socio-economic situation.

We can see that in reporting of Rohingya refugees, CNN was being transparent. They also did an in-depth report on the Rohingya refugees and very detail in the timeline chronology of the case. Apart from that, quotes from the experts were also was included in their reporting.

As for Astro AWANI, their reporting was transparent. They also did the in-depth report of the Rohingya refugees. They did publised the timeline chronology also but not as detail as CNN as they did focus more on the impact of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia . Astro AWANI also quoted statements from the authority.

Overall, we can see that the reporting by CNN is more in-depth. Meanwhile, Astro AWANI only reported this issue on the ground, focusing on what is happening in Malaysia. The aid of still photos or probably videos would help the readers to have a better understanding regarding on this Rohingya issue and also help them to have more sensitvity towards the humanitarian issue.

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