Zurich, September 09, 2011. As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York approaches, not much has changed in the media coverage of Islam in international TV news. According to the latest analysis by the Media Tenor Institute, British and US TV news programs, in particular, continue to focus on violence and war.
“The lesson not yet learned from the 9/11 attacks is the key role of the media in fostering dialogue or, conversely, stirring up hatred between the Muslim and Western worlds,” explains Roland Schatz, founder and editor-in-chief of Media Tenor International. “Journalists may be aware of their responsibility, but day-to-day life in the newsroom makes it hard for them to convey an accurate picture of Islam to their audiences.”
Religion plays a minor role in the news as many journalists do not judge religious life to be really newsworthy. On the other hand, violence and scandals are main drivers of news selection. The image of Islam in Western media, meanwhile, continues to be dominated by terrorism and armed groups ten years after 9/11. In July and August, British and US news focused more strongly on Islam than their German and Italian counterparts that reported more intensively from Catholic World Youth Day.
German TV and US networks painted a more negative image of Islam as the renewed push by Taliban suicide bombers became more salient over the summer months. Peaceful Muslim citizens and Muslim leaders – both in the MENA region as well as in Western countries – played no important role in the news. Their holidays and way of life were of little interest, and they were not heard in political debates in Europe and the US. Altogether, religious life accounted for less than 15% of all reports about Muslims and Islam in the news.
“In order to overcome the divide, both religious leaders and journalists have to try harder to communicate with the public about the universe of Islamic life in all its diversity,” Roland Schatz concludes. “If the dialogue between Muslims and Christians takes place in a closed session, it will be fruitless.”
|<< back <<||Please login to get more in pdf|