Written by: Nur Hawa Shafiqa A Zulkefli
New Straits Times
The oldest English newspaper in Malaysia traces its roots back to a weekly journal found in 1845. Straits Times have gone through several transformations most significantly, the name amends to New Straits Times and cut back from a broadsheet to a compact version. Its strong conviction for a stable, progressive nation-building brings to its audience a rich editorial content that has gathered huge following of movers and shakers, and key decision makers, paving the way to a united and progressive Malaysia. Today, it has its own online version and the website can be reached at www.nst.com.my.
TODAY is a Singapore English-language digital news provider under MediaCorp Press. It was formerly a national free daily newspaper. TODAY is the first Singapore newspaper to make a full mobile-first transition. September 30 2017 marked the day since its birth as Singapore’s first free commuter newspaper. In that time, it grew to become the country’s second most-read newspaper, winning over readers with its unrivalled package of news reports, locally and internationally as well as insightful, thought-provoking commentary and analysis. Through the website, news app, social media and messaging platforms, the main goal is to deliver the signature brand of concise, balanced reports and commentary to readers, wherever the readers are.
New Straits Times and Today has quite similar in style of reporting. However, Today showed some professionalism in their writing. The article about the issue is compact with information compared to New Straits Times. It is full of ministry’s statements and perceptions regarding Hijab ban issue in Malaysia. Unlike Today, New Straits Times offered readers with limited information about the issue, but the news was continuous.
Both writing were bias. The issue reported in Today addressed more on opposition parties questioning government’s action against the issue while New Straits Times address more on government sides. Both reports were based on individual’s statement but the truth was not guaranteed. Since the report was bias, both presses were not independence in gathering the information. A journalist should not act on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural. By clarifying the act of banning hijab wearing by Muslim women as Islamophobia showed professionalism amongst Today’s writers. Islamophobia is the term used for an individual who has intense fear or hatred or prejudice towards Islam or Muslims. The word of “anti-Islam” or “anti-Muslim” used in New Straits Times was high-quality but Islamophobia term has created excellent writing.
Media in Singapore practices freedom of expression. Singapore presents itself as liberal democracy where a constitutional right to free speech is given. Thus, the media in Singapore is more open, and transparent. The content of the news is extensively expressed to the readers. Unlike Singapore, freedom of expression is not absolute in Malaysia. The freedom, on the other hand is restricted by other laws. Media ownership in Malaysia also has restricted the freedom. Hence, content in New Straits Times regarding the issue address more on government side.