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Awareness of Kami Prihatin campaign in the media.

The excerpt above was taken from an article titled Mencari Jalan Penyelesaian (Looking for Solutions) from Utusan Malaysia Online. The author decisively stated that the current situation of social problems in the country has become increasingly worrying. In this context, the author was referring to the extremely alarming rise in the number of baby-dumping cases despite the efforts and actions taken by the government.

Baby-dumping and child abuse cases are often reported in the Malaysian media. It is at an extremely worrying state and vigorous actions have been taken to solve or at least to curb these unfortunate occurrences from happening in our society. The most horrifying fact is that child abuse happens even in broad daylight and in the public vicinity as what happened to Syafia Humairah Binti Sahari who was only three years old when she was physically abused by her mother's lover at Kampung Batu 30, Ulu Yam Lama, Batang Kali. According to the report in Utusan Malaysia (1) Online dated 27 February 2010, the innocent little girl died due to her injuries. It is heartbreaking to know that such tragedies happen even when the public is around to witness it, but did nothing about it. This fateful misfortune has forced an immediate cry of response from the public through the media to stop such cruelties towards children.

In the past year, the Royal Malaysia Police Force and the Social Welfare Department of Malaysia has reported the statistics for related cases in Utusan Malaysia as dated on the 7th of April 2010. Selangor contributes to the highest number of baby-dumping (105 cases) and child abuse (3,234 cases) in the last five (5) years since 2005. Besides Selangor, other states in Malaysia also face the same problem. Below are statistics pertaining to incidents of baby-dumping in Malaysia for the year 2010.

On the other hand, in a report from Mingguan Malaysia (2) dated 20 March 2011 Mumtaz Begum Mohd. Sultan, the Chief Senior Assistant Director of the Department of Social Welfare (JKM) presented a more exclusive statistic. She stated that throughout the year 2010, there were 43 babydumping cases as reported by PDRM. She stated her concern when there were 29 cases reported for the first three months of 2011, which is almost half of the number of cases reported in 2010. She added that nine of the babies were male and female respectively, and the other 11 bodies were unidentifiable as their private parts were devoured by animals.

Mumtaz Begum's worry was shared by Nor Aishah Osman, the Treasurer from Rumah Perlindungan Kanak-Kanak Orphan (a non-profit non-governmental organisation established in 2008 which aims to give every orphan and abandoned baby a chance to feel love and care in the security of a family). She added that there was also a unique trend or pattern in the statistics of baby-dumping cases; they will arise nine months after any huge festivities were celebrated in the country for example New Years Eve, Christmas and Valentine's Day. These festivities lead to late night parties, drug use, alcohol consumption, sexual activities and other unimaginable wrongdoings.

A good example of such a case involving sexual activities is the arrest of 96 people from the age of 18 to 40 years old in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur on 14 February 2011 (Valentine's Day) as reported by Utusan Malaysia dated 15 February 2011. The arrest by Selangor Religious Department (JAIS) and Wilayah Persekutuan Religious Department (JAWI) included those who were involved in drug abuse and also khalwat. This is the reality of today's youth and obviously those who were caught by these authorities are Malay (3) youths.

Hence, various strategies were planned and executed by the government, non-government agencies and other social groups in order to help solve or at least reduce the number of unwanted babies being abandoned and innocent children being abused by irresponsible human beings. These innocent babies were thrown away and most of them died because of their parents' sins and mistakes.

In a cry for help to stop these cases from happening, the media have carried out their role by informing the society about the seriousness of this problem. On 8 April 2010, Utusan Malaysia launched a campaign called Kami Prihatin (4) at KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur with the collaboration from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM), Persatuan Karyawan Malaysia (Karyawan) and Astro as reported in Utusan Malaysia on 9 April 2010. More than 30 celebrities in Malaysia were present to show their support for the campaign; among them were Siti Nurhaliza, Anuar Zain and Amy Search. The launch which was officiated by Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Minister from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, also succeeded in gathering more than 500 people from the public for one common cause--which is to create awareness about the seriousness of child abuse and especially baby-dumping.

Shahrizat Abdul Jalil stated that she had high hopes for the campaign to succeed, as it is the collaboration between the government and also the media industry. As reported and highlighted in the launch, the main purpose of the campaign is to create awareness among the society of the seriousness of baby-dumping and child abuse issues. The campaign also intends to advocate positive moral values such as warning the society of the consequences of their sinful actions. The campaign was also introduced to the public so that they may contribute their help in curbing this social problem by being the eyes and ears to related authoritative bodies and also for the media.

However, in order for the campaign to succeed in creating awareness it must be forcefully implemented and frequently exposed to the public-without these serious efforts, the campaign would be meaningless. The effect of exposures on audience awareness depends on the exposure's reach, frequency and impact (Kotler et al., 2009). Therefore, it is also important for the initiator of the campaign to do research and gain knowledge on the demographic and psychographic profile of a particular targeted audience before introducing any kind of product or in this case a social marketing campaign, so that awareness is effectively created and the important messages are successfully conveyed across to the intended audience.

According to the AIDA model founded by E.K Strong in 1925 (Kotler et al. 2009), to create awareness among consumers, a campaign must first be able to capture attention at the cognitive stage. For example, the use of elements like the visuals as well as design and layout of a poster is vitally important so that the public will then be emotionally affected (creating interest and desire) by the campaign i.e. the feelings of anger, sadness, fear and others.

In the past, the public have doubted the effectiveness of campaigns which highlighted on grave issues such as road safety, anti-drugs campaign for youths (Belia Benci Dadah) and especially the antismoking campaign (Tak Nak! Merokok) in Malaysia. According to a front page report in Utusan Malaysia on 18 January 2010 described the campaign as a failure. This statement was made following a research and report made by the Ministry of Health that stated three strong arguments; (1) A number of 45 to 50 new smokers among children under the age of 18 years old have emerged every day, (2) There is an increase of 30,000 smokers every year and currently there are 3.12 million smokers in the country and (3) The goal to build 270 clinics around the nation in an effort to help smokers quit smoking since 2001 has failed due to smokers' negative attitude towards the campaign.

Considering these arguments, it can be assumed that the government is not entirely responsible for the failed campaign, but it is also because of the targeted audience's (smokers and future smokers) negative attitude towards the campaign. Therefore, in relation to previous campaigns, this research serves to study how effective is the Kami Prihatin campaign in creating awareness among the targeted audience which is the youths in Malaysia.

The Campaign: KamiPrihatin

Kami Prihatin marked its second year on 8 April 2012 since its public debut on the same date in year 2010. The campaign seeks to advocate awareness on baby-dumping and child abuse issues. It is an effort put together by Utusan Malaysia, the Malaysian Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, Astro and Karyawan.

According to an interview between the researcher and Zulkifli Hamzah, Senior Editor-in-Chief of Utusan Malaysia, the campaign was first unofficially initiated by Utusan Malaysia in March 2010. Later, the campaign was joined by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM), Astro and Karyawan. They decided to make the campaign official and from there, many interested parties have shown interest in joining and contributing to the cause including local universities. All of these four organisations are important to one another and especially with the existence of KPWKM in the circle. They work closely with each other by providing news sources, the media space for the campaign and other related materials.

Naturally, each four organisations in the campaign have its own specific role in carrying out the social campaign. Utusan Malaysia plays its role by providing a specific space in its newspaper mainly for the

campaign, which seeks to report on news regarding the issue on a daily basis. The Ministry provides information with regards to data and statistics from various sources like the Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM) and the Malaysian Social Welfare Department (JKM). And with strong support from the Ministry and of course personal support from the Minister herself, it is expected that the campaign to be successful in achieving its objectives.

Meanwhile, Karyawan provide talent for the campaign; the official song for the campaign titled Harapan Tanpa Suara was composed by the famous Malaysian composer S. Atan and the lyrics were written by the renowned Habsah Hassan. At the same time, Astro airs the campaign's official video clip called Harapan Tanpa Suara on Astro Awani, Astro Ria, Astro Prima, Astro Warna, Hitz, Astro Oasis, Astro Supersport, Astro Arena, AXN, Starworld, Hallmark and MTV. They also air the official song on their radio channels such as Era, XFM, Sinar and Gegar. ( y=2010&dt=0409&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Muka_Hadapan&pg=m h_07.htm).

According to Zulkifli Hamzah, all of these promotional activities were only done in the earlier stages of the campaign in order to create awareness (cognitive stage) among the targeted audience. After three to four months, the campaign slowly subsided and started to focus on persuading the targeted audience to take action in preventing this social illness from happening (creating desire and interest stage).

Following a brief interview with the Senior Editor-in-Chief and also Alice Suriati Mazlan, the Head of Corporate Communications from KPWKM during the launch of the campaign in UiTM Shah Alam, the researcher was able to gain understanding on the campaign's design process and media schedule. The Kami Prihatin logo was designed by Utusan Malaysia while the rest of the campaign materials and activities like posters, video clip and other promotional items were planned and done together by all four agencies accordingly.

Apart from the use of media, the campaign has also collaborated with local universities like Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIA) on 8 January 2011, Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) on 22 January 2011and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Shah Alam on 19 March 2011. The four organisations cooperated with local universities by reaching out to the youths, in the hope of creating awareness and also persuading the youths to take action in preventing baby-dumping from happening.


A survey was conducted in collecting data for the findings and analysis via questionnaires. Due to a limited time frame and also having to deal with unmanageable circumstances, the number of respondents was reduced from 100 students to 60 students, 30 from each university.

Because of this, a nonprobability sampling (purposive sampling) method was used in the process of gathering data from the respondents of both universities. Only students who were aged between 18 years old to 26 years old and are of Malay heritage were selected to be respondents for the study. This is significant to the research because the research seeks to gather opinions from the Malay youth's opinion on the campaign.

The researcher's main population is Communication and Media students from two prominent universities in Malaysia (UNISEL and UiTM) that provided a large sum of Malay respondents which totals up to 2,935 students; UNISEL with 435 students and UiTM with 2,500 students. The researcher's accessible population comes from a sample of 60 students who were chosen based on the criteria mentioned earlier and also because of their media literacy rate. Nevertheless, the findings of the research cannot be generalised to the whole population of Malay youths in Malaysia.

The number of 60 respondents was chosen based on the guideline suggested by Wimmer & Dominick (2011). According to Wimmer & Dominick, there are seven issues that need to be considered when choosing a sample size; (1) Project type, (2) Project purpose, (3) Project complexity, (4) Amount of error tolerated, (5) Time constraints, (6) Financial constraints and (7) Previous research in the area.

This research study was not designed to generalise the results to the population but rather to investigate variable relationships. Therefore, a nonprobability sampling was appropriate for this study. Another reason for choosing only 60 respondents was because of the time constraints faced by the researcher. There was only a limited time frame of four months to complete the research study. This rationale is supported by Wimmer & Dominick; researchers often use samples of 50, 75 or 100 subjects. Therefore, the researcher decided to use only 60 respondents for this research study; it is appropriate for the purpose of the study which is to investigate the issue only at a preliminary stage.

Research Questions

Three main research questions which are regarded as the major concerns were identified:

1) How effective is the Kami Prihatin campaign in creating awareness among the Malay youth?

2) What is the media consumption habit among the Malay youth?

3) What medium would be most effective in creating awareness among the Malay youth?

Research Objectives

This study mainly intended to analyse whether Kami Prihatirfs current method, particularly the use of media, is effective in creating awareness among the Malay youth or the contrary. Seeing that the campaign is a reasonably new campaign compared to other existing campaigns in the Malaysian media, it was relevant to study whether they have succeeded in tackling the first stage of the campaign, which is creating awareness. The study fulfilled the following objectives:

1) To study how effective is Kami Prihatin in creating awareness among the Malay youth.

2) To understand the media consumption habit among the Malay youth.

3) To identify the type of media that would be most effective in creating awareness among the Malay youth.

Results and Discussion

Level of awareness towards Kami Prihatin

Based on the researchers' initial observation and queries among her students, she found out that many were not aware with the Kami Prihatin campaign. To add, the rising number of baby-dumping cases in the past year and also in the first quarter of 2011 also made the researcher skeptical of the campaign. Thus, this study was initiated to understand the youth, specifically the Malay youths who are claimed to be the highest contributors to baby-dumping cases.

Surprisingly, 48 out of 60 respondents were aware of the campaign and the remaining 12 were unaware of Kami Prihatin. Their lack of knowledge was studied and it was found out that although many respondents preferred to remain neutral of their opinion, six out of the 12 respondents mostly favoured that they were unaware because of the lack of exposure from the media and not because of their intrinsic beliefs and attitude.

Out of the 48 respondents, 31 first found out about the campaign via television, 11 from the newspaper, three from word of mouth, two from the Internet and only one from radio. Although most of the respondents admitted that they mostly use the Internet for source of information, still television became the highest source of their knowledge on the campaign.

Later in the questionnaire, those who are aware of the campaign were then tested on statements of the effects of the media which were used to promote the campaign in creating awareness towards baby-dumping cases. Findings found that the most effective media in leaving emotional marks and that would most likely be able to change the audience's attitude and behaviour is the television.

The respondents experienced more emotional feelings through exposure from television. This is because the nature of television is unlimited (audio and visual) compared to radio which is only limited to audio. Newspapers made it slightly higher compared to radio because newspapers had the advantage of using visuals to influence the audience. Due to this, respondents mostly agreed that the campaign should be promoted continuously via television, then newspapers and finally radio. The high penetration of television in 98 percent of households in Malaysia might also be the reason to why respondents were more affected by the campaign via television.

Media consumption habits among Malay youths

The second objective which is to understand the media consumption habit among the Malay youths was answered with questions asking their hobbies and interests. Initially 17 hobbies or interests were provided for them to choose from. But, only those related to the study were focused on, especially those concerning to the use of media which are reading, watching television, watching movies, listening to the radio, chatting, social network and blogging.

Generally, a high number of respondents watched television (55 respondents all together) and social networking sites (also 55 respondents). Reading came in third with 54 respondents, followed chatting online with 53 respondents, then watching movies and listening to the radio with 52 respondents each and finally blogging with only 41 respondents involved.

This pattern can be seen in their most preferred media in seeking information; a majority of respondents chose the Internet (37 respondents) which explains most of their activities that they are involved in such as social networking sites, chatting online and also blogging. Three of these hobbies or interests are what dominates the use of Internet among the respondents. The next preferred media is television with 15 respondents, followed by newspapers with five respondents and finally radio with three respondents.

Respondents were then given options of reasons for using a particular type of media; it is more convenient, it is more interesting, it is more entertaining, it is more interactive and its sources are credible. A majority of 55 respondents admitted that they chose a certain media because they find it interesting, followed by its convenience, interactivity, entertainment and finally based on its credibility. Here, it can be detected that an interesting media would most likely be able to attract and retain the attention of the audience.

According to age, those aged 18 to 20 years old chose the Internet as the medium that they use to seek information with 14 respondents, followed by those aged 21 to 23 years old with 15 respondents and finally those aged 24 to 26 years old with eight respondents. However, there is a contradicting finding between the most used media for information seeking and the most effective media that they think would be most effective in creating awareness. This will be further explained in the next item; type of media in creating awareness effectively.

Type of media in creating awareness effectively

Previously, the researcher explained that although the majority of respondents used the Internet to seek information, they might choose a different type of media that they think would be most effective in creating awareness. A majority of the respondents chose the Internet as their most preferred media in seeking information with 37 respondents. However, 22 respondents out of the 37 have the opinion that television would be the most effective media in creating awareness while only eight of them chose the Internet.

Next, 13 out of 15 respondents who mostly used television for seeking information also agreed that television would be the most effective media in creating awareness. Meanwhile, the remaining two respondents thought that outdoor advertising would be the best medium in creating awareness. In addition, three out of five respondents who read chose television as the medium that would be best in creating awareness. And finally, one out of three respondents who mostly listened to the radio chose television as the most suitable media in creating awareness about the campaign.

Besides discussing on the most suitable media in creating awareness, this section also argues about the media that would be most suitable in supporting the current above-the-line (ATL) media which are television, newspaper and radio. The researcher found out that the second most suitable media in creating awareness as preferred by the respondents is the Internet. Looking at their media consumption habit, it could be concluded that the Internet would be one of the best ways to reach the Malay youths.

Social networking especially Facebook received the most positive responses, followed by blogs and then Twitter. The respondents next preferred media is movie theatres and finally outdoor advertising. However, the findings are almost similar. This biasness may have occurred due to the way the questionnaire was structured. The respondents had tendencies to choose similar answers provided which were closely positioned to one another in the questionnaire.


In the beginning, the researcher was intrigued to carry out this study following her personal interest in social marketing campaigns and the issues revolving it. The interest particularly focuses on Kami Prihatin campaign because of the researcher's concern towards the high rising statistics of baby-dumping cases in the society. News of such cases is seen daily all over the media, as if nothing has been done to stop this social problem.

In actual, various steps have been taken to curb this problem as it is with many other social illnesses in the society, particularly the Malay society who practice Islam, the true religion as their way of life. Despite these various attempts and efforts, the statistics are still high and it is feared that in the future the statistics will be more worrying than it is today. One of the many attempts in trying to solve such cases is the launch and existence of Kami Prihatin campaign-a social marketing campaign or social development campaign that wishes to create awareness on the seriousness of child abuse and baby-dumping issues.

This campaign particularly caught the researcher's attention because of its good intentions and objectives. To add, the campaign is fairly new compared to other social marketing campaigns that exist in the country. Therefore, it is much more challenging and interesting to study on-with limited references on the matter and the sensitivity of the issue among the Malay community.

The other reason that grabbed the researcher's attention is again because of the baby-dumping cases that seem to contribute more and more to the existing statistics despite having the campaign launched and promoted vigorously in 2010. As mentioned earlier, it is too early to say that the campaign has failed in creating awareness because of its relatively new appearance in the media. Nevertheless, the researcher was intrigued to know the factors that contributes to this problem, is the problem coming from the campaign itself-ineffective strategies and methods or is it because of the audience's unresponsive and resilient attitude towards the campaign?

Nonetheless, at this early stage of the campaign, something has to be done and looked into so that the campaign remains to succeed in achieving its main objective, which is to create awareness on the issue and to retain that awareness among the youth so that they would take action (attitude and behavioural change).

Have the research questions so far been answered by the conduct of this study? Initially, this study sought to find answers for these questions; (1) how effective is the Kami Prihatin campaign in creating

awareness among the Malay youth?, (2) what is the media consumption habit among the Malay youth?, and (3) what medium would be most effective in creating awareness among the Malay youth?

In summary, the essential findings for each question have been fulfilled through the study. As mentioned time and time again, the study is for exploratory purposes--to gain basic knowledge on respondents' attitude towards the campaign so that in the future, a better and more descriptive study can be conducted.

The first question was basically measured through a series of questions from asking respondents if they are aware of the campaign or the contrary. It is evident that a majority of 48 respondents were aware of the campaign, while 12 did not know of its existence. Those who were aware were then asked on the effects that the campaign had on them. The researcher found that most of them were mostly affected by the campaign via television, followed by newspaper and then radio.

However, there is an almost similar pattern in the answers and many were neutral on the subject. One of the reasons may have been caused by the way the questions were structured and positioned in the questionnaire which leads to biasness of data. This problem disabled the researcher to have a stronger grasp and understanding on certain items. Nevertheless, it has been identified that the respondents are aware of the campaign and they are affected by it. The only problem that must be studied in the future is; what actions have they taken following the effects that they have experienced after being exposed to the campaign?

The second objective was to understand the respondents' media consumption habit. The basics were found and established that most of the respondents prefer using the Internet and spend most of their time on activities relating to the Internet--social network sites, chatting and blogging. It was also found that respondents chose a type of media for information seeking (current and general issues especially) based on characters which are in order; interesting, followed by its convenience, interactivity, entertainment and finally based on its credibility.

Finally, to conclude the discussion, a majority of the respondents selected television as the type of media that would be best in creating awareness among the Malay youth. They also agreed that this method should be continuously used in order to instill awareness and retain interest towards the campaign. Apart from that, respondents also opted that the Internet would be the best type of media in supporting the media, followed by movie theatres and outdoor advertising. The trend of media use among the Malay youths must be carefully studied so that the messages can be conveyed effectively.


This study, if not an interesting one, is actually very important for the development and betterment of the Malay society. Not only are the Malays in a bad light for this particular issue, but also in other areas of life like the economy and politics. Malays have always been stereotyped by other races as being lazy and are known as taking advantage of their special rights. However, the point of discussion here is to change the attitude and behaviour of the Malays so that in the end they can benefit more with that positive change.

Although Utusan Malaysia and KPWKM are both politically criticised at times by opposing political parties, their good intentions in initiating this campaign should be looked at and studied carefully so that it becomes fruitful to our ill-becoming Malay society. Political differences must be pushed aside and for once, this rising social problem must be put to an end.

In the future, if permitted, this study would be more successful and more accurate with the use of more reliable respondents and better-planned questionnaires. If the time duration were longer for this study, it would be more effective if the unwed mothers-to-be or those who have been involved with baby-dumping cases were interviewed on their opinions about the campaign; what would be more effective in trying to reach out to them so that they themselves and other girls do not make the mistake of having unwanted newborns and throwing them away.

Another better method in gaining in-depth information about respondents' responses is by administrating a focus group where the researcher would be able to show them the print advertisements, posters, video clip and news of the campaign. This is mainly to study their responses and opinions on the use of visuals or copy in the marketing materials.

And also, with better planning and a longer duration of time in the future, it is hoped that the study could also figure out alternative ways that would be more effective in trying to resolve the problem besides the existence of Kami Prihatin campaign paving and leading the way.

It is hoped that with this basic study on the campaign, it would be a benchmark for other better studies or researches to flourish so that we can eventually find a solution for this social problem that seems to be never ending. As mentioned earlier, this study only seeks to explore and is just a scratch on the surface before a greater study than this can be carried out for a fruitful social development that will be very beneficial not only to the Malay society but also to the country.



(1.) Utusan Malaysia is a Malaysian daily newspaper owned by Utusan Group with a circulation of 157, 831 in 2010 according to the ABC report. It is one of the leading Malay newspapers in Malaysia.

(2.) Mingguan Malaysia is a weekly newspaper also published by the Utusan Group, aimed at the Malay community in Malaysia.

(3.) Kami Prihatin is a social marketing campaign launched by Utusan Malaysia with the collaboration from Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, Astro and Karyawan.

(4.) According to the Department of Statictics Malaysia, the Malay community has the largest population in Malaysia with 67.4 percent as in 2010.


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Adlene Aris is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Communication and Media, UNI SEL (Universiti Selangor), Malaysia. She mainly teaches subjects involving creative writing and visual literacy. In 2011, she earned her Master's Degree in Mass Communication and received the Excellent Master's Award from UiTM (Universiti Teknologi Mara), Malaysia. Her interests are primarily in the areas of advertising; issues concerning consumer behaviour, social marketing campaigns and semiotics, as well as visual communication.

Mokhtar Muhammad holds a PhD in Malaysian Political History from University Malaya; MSc in Journalism and Mass Communication, Iowa State University; BSc in Journalism, University of Colorado; and Diploma in Mass Communication (Journalism) Institut Teknologi Mara (ITM). He is currently a professor at Journalism Programme in Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM). Mokhtar's areas of expertise and research include, Journalism; Communication; Social Science History; Sociological Studies of Journalism; News-Editorial Writing in Journalism; Studies of the Media; Culture and Society; Communication and Change; Organizational Communication; Human Communication; International Communication; International Relations; Global Contemporary and Political Studies.
Figure 1

The Number of Baby-dumping Cases in Malaysia for the Years

2005 until 2010

No.    State              Number
                          of Cases

1.     Selangor           105
2.     Johor              83
3.     Sabah              65
4.     Sarawak            34
5.     Negeri Sembilan    24
6.     Pulau Pinang       22
7.     Perak              19
8.     Pahang and Kedah   17
9.     Kelantan           10
10.    Terengganu         5
11.    Melaka             3
12.    Kuala Lumpur       2
13.    Perlis             1

Sources from
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Title Annotation:CASE STUDY
Author:Aris, Adlene; Muhammad, Mokhtar
Publication:Journal of Development Communication
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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