Zurich. Even during the peak time before referendum on a ban on building minarets in Switzerland, the main evening news of Swiss TV DRS and the Rundschau reported about Islam primarily in the context of terrorism and international conflict. This shows the latest study by the Zurich-based research institute MEDIA TENOR International. “The stereotyped news permitted the public only in a limited way to form its own opinion about the everyday life of the 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland”, explains Roland Schatz, founder and President of MEDIA TENOR. The tone of the reports about Islam was critical on account of this news selection. Representatives of Islam were only quoted infrequently. “With regard to these facts, the outcome of the poll does not surprise”, concludes Schatz.
The -C1 One World Dialogue, which is devoted to the goal of promoting understanding and improved relations between the Western and Islamic Worlds, deeply deplores the passing of this initiative proposed by the SVP (Swiss People´s Party). “This vote shows what happens when practical steps are not taken to address private fears and to bring communities together. We must not allow stereotypes to drive us apart. It is important that the identity of Muslims not be allowed to be hijacked by extremists”, declared the Anglican Bishop of London, Dr. Richard Chartres, a CoChair of the C-1 World Dialogue.
But international TV news has been reporting critically about Switzerland well before the latest turn of events. With the referendum on the Minaret Initiative Switzerland thus runs the risk of losing more of its international reputation. Over the last twelve months prime-time news in the USA, Europe, the Middles East or in Africa reported only then in a positive way about the country, when Roger Federer or other top athletes won their tournaments. But coverage of business, politics or social issues strains the image of Switzerland with potential investors or tourists. The result of the poll will now add only room for additional charges.
MEDIA TENOR has been analyzing international TV news continuously since the year 2000. For the news analysis during the run-up to the anti-minaret referendum a total of 120,701 news stories in 34 international TV programs from the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa and in Arabic satellite have been analyzed in the period from December 2008 to November 2009. 621 stories focused on Switzerland.
For the special analysis of the coverage of religion a total of 2,759 statements in SF DRS Tagesschau, SF Eco and SF Rundschau have been evaluated for the period from January to November 2009. 875 statements related to Islam.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, MEDIA TENOR International, Rothstrasse 54, 8057 Zurich
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