EIU study: Malaysian media have little interest in child sexual abuse stories

Zurairi Ar
The EIU report today scored Malaysia 53.4 on the ‘Out of the Shadows’ index, with a ranking of 20th among the 40 countries surveyed. ― Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — Local media outlets appear uninterested in covering child sexual abuse and exploitation, claimed a report over the response to the issue released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) today.

The “Out of the Shadows” report also chastised the situation involving internet service providers here where they are not required to block, delete or report offensive content involving child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“Malaysia’s media companies demonstrate limited collective interest in, or engagement with, the issue of child sexual abuse and exploitation,” said the report.

Malaysian media have most recently covered the death of 11-month-old infant, Nur Muazara Ulfa, who was dubbed Zara, in November due to alleged physical and sexual abuse by her babysitter’s husband, a 36-year-old barber.

The murderer, Hazmi Majid, was sentenced to 20 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the rotan by Kajang Sessions Court just weeks later.

The EIU report today scored Malaysia 53.4 on the “Out of the Shadows” index, with a ranking of 20th among the 40 countries surveyed.


A higher score indicates a better response to the threat of child sexual abuse and exploitation and the index does not attempt to measure the scale of the problem in each country, nor its prevalence.

“Media industry engagement” and “internet protections” were among the four sub-indicators in which Malaysia scored zero. The other two were “data collection on prevalence” and “access to offender support programmes”.

However, Malaysia scored well on the main indicator of “Engagement of industry,

civil society and media”, scoring 54.7 compared to the global average of 51.7 and tying with Nigeria for 17th place out of 40.

The country was also lauded for its national notice and takedown policy that allows members of the public to report potentially unlawful child sexual abuse content, in addition to the telecommunications industry’s code of conduct that covers issues relating to sexual violence against children.

The study is based on data and information from 34 indicators and 132 sub-indicators, grouped into four categories that measure the extent to which countries are acknowledging the problem of sexual violence against children, and whether they are implementing measures to address and prevent it.

EIU is the research arm of The Economist Group, publisher of London-based weekly magazine The Economist. The survey was done backed by the World Childhood Foundation and Oak Foundation and the Carlson Family Foundation.

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