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Tackling Islamophobia in the media

Tackling Islamophobia in the media

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday May 14 2014

The Guardian G2 yesterday ran a feature on the scope and spread of anti-Muslim output in the print media from scare stories about ‘Islamification’ to insidious bias in the news coverage of criminal cases, foregrounding the religious identity of Muslims as a way of essentialising Islam and ‘blaming’ the religion from crimes like honour killings and child sex exploitation.

The headlines in the G2 feature ought to be familiar to any reader of our website. What is perhaps less known is the role of poor press regulation in facilitating this state of affairs.

When Baroness Warsi spoke about the normalisation of anti-Muslim discourse, saying Islamophobia had passed ‘the dinner table test’ her comments, widely reported in the media, were also emphatically denounced by columnists who criticised her for pushing the interests of her own faith tradition.

Since the publication of the Leveson Inquiry report, sections of the press have been vigorously engaged in efforts to dilute the implementation of certain key recommendations which would go some way to preventing the scale of anti-Muslim negativity we currently witness. Recommendations such as third party complaints and the power of the regulator to ‘direct’ apologies.

While the feature article in G2 is to be welcomed for highlighting, again, what is evidently a significant problem in our media, after Baroness Warsi’s speech, the Leveson Inquiry report, and academic analysis on the pervasive negative representations of Islam and Muslims in the British media, surely the time has come to do more than just talk about the problem?


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