Written by Diyana Khairron
Child abuse and neglect is an increasing social problem. The effects of child abuse and neglect are not limited to childhood but cascade throughout life, with significant consequences for victims on all aspects of human functioning, their families, and society. Child abuse is defined as “non-accidental physical injury, minimal or fatal, inflicted upon children by persons caring for them”. In a simpler word, child abuse is the mistreatment or maltreatment of a child by an adult. There many types of child abuse such as physical, sexual, neglect, and emotional or psychological abuse.
While children are the ones who are very vital for deciding how the world is going to be be after some years. Therefore, it is important to treat and caress them better physically and psychologically. So if one can do some good in the life of a child then there can be change, at least a slightest change, in the world to come. And if most of them think on the same lines then it can be hoped for the better future ahead. Therefore, it is important to discuss and be aware of child abuse issue. Due to this reason, the chosen issue for this comparative news reporting between the local media and international media would be the child abuse issue.
The local media to look upon for child abuse issues is ‘The Star Online’, that is the online version of The Star printed newspaper. The Star is an English Language tabloid format of newspaper in Malaysia. When The Star printed version made available online, it has become the most popular news sites in Malaysia. While for the international media chosen is the online version of ‘The Guardian’. The Guardian is a British national daily newspaper. It was first known as The Manchester Guardian until 1959, and now known as ‘The Guardian’. In recent 2009-2010, the Guardian has significantly developed and expanded its digital operations. Guardian News & Media announced plans to become a digital-first organization, placing open journalism on the web at the heart of its strategy.
Throughout the comparison between the local media, The Star Online and the international media, The Guardian. It is discovered that The Star Online has propagate four (4) approaches while The Guardian propagate three (3) approaches but unique in their own ways to persuade and influence the people for together to curb the child abuse issue and to help in preventing child abuse from continually happening.
Among the approaches by The Star Online would be its ability to transmit implicit or hidden message and knowledge child abuse issue when The Star Online posted an article of “Mum, boyfriend held after toddler dies of injuries” on 12th August 2016. This is to show and to deliver the message that when it comes to children, do not put our fully trust on anybody as we will never know exactly how they felt for our children. This also proved that even the mother to the child could do such thing. Another article posted by The Star Online on “Send children to registered children centres to prevent untoward incidents” on 8th November 2016 and to tell the people out there that there are registered childcare centres by the authorities under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community that provide full trained staff and would be prepared to handle any emergency and top priority to have the children centres to vet the background of all applicants thoroughly before taking them in as permanent staff regardless of what position the individual is employed. According to records, there are 4,240 childcare centres registered with the ministry as of July 2016. This article as well is an effort to invite all parents to send their children to registered children centres to prevent child abuse done by the outsider.
The content of The Star Online is as well found to be very informative and effective in reporting update cases on child abuse with matters relating to it. This can be seen through many of its news reporting article. Among of The Star Online’s news reporting article on the child abuse cases are “Mum, boyfriend held after toddler dies in injuries” posted on 12th August 2016, “Principal denies any abuse of kids at welfare home” posted on 13th August 2016, “Toddler left by roadside recovering in hospital” posted on 19th August 2016, “Cops yet to identify boy left to die” posted on 20th August 2016 and “Cops: Deceased toddler had burn marks and torn scalp” posted on 31th August 2016. These cases are among the cases of childe abuse that happen in August 2016 and the date posted is not far from each other. Such numbers of news reporting article will absolutely create the awareness among the Malaysian people on child abuse situation in Malaysia and it is very important for them to be aware so that the be concerned.
The Star Online has also reported news article on “Send victims of domestic abuse to hospital first” posted on 26 August 2016. This is to inform the public on what should they do to help the victims and that includes child abuse’s victim. Another news reporting article that includes additional information of child abuse by The Star Online would be on “Psychiatric test for woman charged with child abuse”. This article is to alarm the public that even the doers of child abuse pleaded not guilty, he or she will not be tolerated where psychiatric test will then de done tests on him or to show that this is a very important and to ensure that the doer will receive ample punishment with what he or she has done.
Further on that, The Star Online has also use the approach of legal perspective to show that child abuse issues is very important and people should take the issue seriously. The article of “Ministry wants direct access to police criminal registry” posted on 12th August 2016 showed that The Star Online has reported clearly every on-going process that relates with child abuse. In the article, The Women, family and Community Development Ministry wants direct access to the police registry for criminals so it can conduct background checks on those who want to set up or work for children-related facilities. This collaboration is important to ensure those convicted of committing crimes against children would not be allowed to be in close contact with the young. This should consider as firm warning to those who intentional or unintentionally to commit crimes against children.
Another article of “Child sexual crimes Bill includes obligation to report abuse” posted on 3rd November 2016 stated that a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azlina Othman proposed the obligation for third parties to report suspected child abuse cases through the new Child Sexual Crimes Bill. This is indirectly to show that the Malaysian government take this child abuse cases seriously and once the Bill has been approved by the A-G’s Chambers and tabled in the Parliament, the doer of child abuse should be really watch out as the public will have the power to report and the reported cases will be investigated by authorities.
Last but not least, it is great to found that The Star Online news reporting article has gone beyond culture belief. This is proven through the article of “Break the taboo on keeping silent to hide ‘shame’ posted on 22 July 2016. This article urges the people to break the malu-malu (shame) culture when it comes to child sexual abuse. It is known that the topic of child sexual abuse, especially when it happens in the family, is long deemed taboo and sensitive. However, people have to start the conversation on a topic that has been taboo for far too long. In realizing this, the parents are called to communicate more with their children so that they can easily spot differences in their behaviour that may suggest signs of abuse. It is also believed that by reading this article, it will somehow create new perspective of how people in Malaysia are looking at taboo and sensitive topic such this so that prevention and action can be taken.
As for the international media, The Guardian. It is discovered that its information spread on child abuse cases is inadequate as it is hard for to find news reporting articles on child abuse’s cases. Therefore, it is indefinite to tell whether is there any child abuse case going on in the United Kingdom. However, it is then has been clarified through an article of “Up to 85% of child abuse in England remains undetected, study says” posted on 24th November 2016. This article emphasizes on urgent action needed from the people to identify and prevent child abuse, especially if it happens within the families’ members. According to a major new study under this article, it suggests only one I eight victims in England comes to the attention of authorities. In reflecting the above situation, it is important for the authorities to know the cases of child abuse that happened so that action can be taken and the children right can be protected and they can live as the way they should live.
In term of legal perspective, The Guardian has reported a news article of “UNICEF wants family courts to check child abuse” posted on 4th November 2016 which stated that the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) has called on the three tiers of government to establish family courts as enshrined in the Child Rights Act (CRA) to protect the child from abuse. This article is hoped to bring awareness to the people and for the government to take this matter seriously so that the law for children protection can be strengthen.
Lastly, through The Guardian of news reporting article, it is found that The Guardian has been transparent in reporting news on child abuse where through its article of “Edward Heath child abuse allegations: two arrests made” posted on 14th November 2016. The case arose when Sir Edward Heath who is the former prime minister of United Kingdom which is also a British politician was named as a suspect in an investigation into historical child sex abuse. This shows that no matter of what position individual are in and how important you are, if the individual commit such offence, The Guardian is still reporting the case. To be transparent especially matters that has got to do with power politician is really something bold to do and The Guardian has done it.
Always bare in mind that children need parental care and love. Nothing can replace this as a good childhood and upbringing well ensure the child grows up to be a responsible adult. Child abuse issues are very important issues and should not be overlooked and taken for granted and should involve law in order to control and to curb the issues. Through this comparative studies of news reporting articles between The Star Online and The Guardian, it can be seen that there are so many cases involving child abuse. These children do not deserve to be treated this way, they have the right to live peacefully and to be caress.
In comparing both local and international media, it is noticed that the most significant difference between the local and international media is that the local media, The Star Online has more coverage on news reporting articles on child abuse and using more types of approach in persuading the people’s attitude, beliefs and behaviours to play their roles in curbing child abuse issues. This is also to say that the local media had done better work in reporting child abuse cases that happen around Malaysia which is believe to have affect on the people and the authorities to take this matter seriously so that we can deliver the best outcomes for children and to have the concern of letting every child to be a wanted child.
The Star Online. (2016, August 21). Cops: Deceased toddler had burn marks and torn scalp. Retrieved November 7, 29016, from The Start Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/31/cops-deceased-toddler-had-burn-marks-and-torn-scalp/
The Star Online. (2016, August 12). Ministry wants direct access to police criminal registry. Retrieved November 2016, 2016, from The Star Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/12/ministry-wants-direct-access-to-police-criminal-registry/
The Star Online. (2016, August 13). Principal denies any abuse of kids at welfare home. Retrieved November 7, 2016, from The Star Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/13/principal-denies-any-abuse-of-kids-at-welfare-home/
The Start Online. (2016, August 12). Mum, boyfriend held after toddler dies of injuries. Retrieved November 7, 2016, from The Start Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/12/two-year-old-sungei-petani-girl-dies-of-physical-abused/
The Star Online. (2016, August 20). Cops yet to identify boy left to die. Retrieved November 7, 2016, from The Star Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/20/cops-yet-to-identify-boy-left-to-die/
The Star Online. (2016, August 26). Send victims of domestic abuse to hospital first, says Heng. Retrieved November 7, 2016, from The Star Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/26/send-victims-of-domestic-abuse-to-hospital-first-says-heng/
The Star Online. (2016, August 19). Toddler left by roadside recovering in hospital . Retrieved November 7, 2016, from The Star Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/19/toddler-left-by-roadside-recovering-in-hospital/
The Star Online. (2016, November 8). Send children to registered childcare centres to prevent untoward incidents, says Chew. Retrieved November 8, 2016, from The Star Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2016/11/08/welfare-of-kids-a-priority-send-children-to-registered-childcare-centres-to-prevent-untoward-inciden/
The Star Online. (2016, August 2). Psychiatric test for woman charged with child abuse . Retrieved November 8, 2016, from The Star Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/02/psychiatric-test-for-woman-charged-with-child-abuse/
The Star Online. (2016, November 3). Child sexual crimes Bill includes obligation to report abuse. Retrieved November 7, 2016, from The Star Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/11/03/child-sexual-crimes-bill-includes-obligation-to-report-abuse/
The Star Online. (2016, July 22). Break the taboo on keeping silent to hide ‘shame’ . Retrieved November 8, 2016, from The Star Online: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/07/22/break-the-taboo-on-keeping-silent-to-hide-shame/
The Guardian. (2016, November 4). UNICEF wants family courts to check child abuse. Retrieved November 8, 2016 , from The Guardian: UNICEF wants family courts to check child abuse
The Guardian. (2016, November 14). Edward Heath child abuse allegations: two arrests made. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/14/edward-heath-child-abuse-allegations-two-arrests-made-operation-conifer
The Guardian. (2015, November 24). Up to 85% of child abuse in England remains undetected, study says. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/24/85-percent-child-abuse-england-remains-undetected-study