Discourse analysis on newspaper reports of apostasy cases

Azweed Mohamad, Radzuwan Ab Rashid, Kamariah Yunus, Shireena Basree Abdul Rahman, Saadiyah Darus, Razali Musa, Kamarul Shukri Mat Teh

Abstract


This paper aims to provide insights into the Malaysian newspaper reports on apostasy cases in the country. Being a Muslim country with multi-religions, apostasy is highly sensitive hence any issues related to apostasy need to be carefully managed. Four keywords (‘apostasy’, ‘apostate’, Ex-Muslim’, and ‘murtad’) were used to identify newspaper reports for the analysis. Two newspaper reports met the selection criteria and were analysed using a discourse analysis approach focusing on Grammatical Analysis, Macrostructures, and Rhetorical Structures. The analysis reveals that the report in New Straits Times, which is the right-wing newspaper, carries the voice of anti-apostate and disapproves the act of renouncing Islam. On the other hand, the report in The Malay Mail, which is the left-wing newspaper, carries the voice of pro-apostate. By deconstructing the newspaper reports, this paper contributes to the understanding of the agendas that have been subtly set in the news. This paper concludes that the two reports have been strategically constructed to serve the interests and promote the ideology of the two competing groups in the country (the pro-apostate and the anti-apostate groups), thus creating a balance in the multi-religious context.

Keywords


Agenda, apostasy, anti-apostate, Malaysia, newspaper report, New Straits Times, pro-apostate, The Malay Mail.

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