A report on media coverage of Muslims and Islam in the UK found that the majority of articles have a negative slant.
According to The Independent, the Center for Media Monitoring report analyzed more than 48,000 online articles and 5,500 clips released by 34 media outlets that mentioned Islam and Muslims between 2018 and 2019.
The study, commissioned by the Muslim Council of Britain, found that nearly 60 percent of articles portrayed Islam negatively and one in five associated faith with terrorism or extremism.
The 162-page study has been welcomed by editors of publications such as The Mirror and The Sunday Times, who have said news organizations have a “duty” of accuracy and fairness to their audiences.
The report found that 59% of online media associated Muslims and Islam with negative aspects or behavior, with right-wing newspapers and news agencies being the most likely to do so.
He also found that 47% of all broadcast clips analyzed showed Islam and Muslims in a negative light, and one in 10 articles distorted the faith.
Other key findings were that seven percent of articles analyzed included generalizations, most focusing on the themes of terrorism and extremism (25 percent), followed by politics (18 percent) and the Middle East. (17 percent).
Upon posting, The Mirror editor-in-chief Alison Phillips said: “This report from the Center for Media Monitoring shows how much we as journalists need to question ourselves and the work that we produce in relation to reporting on Muslims and Islam.
“Everyone who works in media has a duty to ensure that the content they create is fair and responsible. This duty is even greater for those who work to report information that shapes the national debate. Yet this report indicates that the majority of media misrepresentation still occurs in the news. “
Sunday Times Editor-in-Chief Emma Tucker said: “I welcome this report – fully aware that it contains reviews from the press, including my own newspaper.
She added: “We still have a ways to go, but increasingly, the people who make decisions in the newsroom are more faithful to the audience they serve.”
MCB Media Monitoring Center Director Rizwana Hamid said: “This latest report does not seek to blame any newspaper or broadcaster or any particular journalist or reporter.
“However, it is time for the industry to admit that, on occasion and all too often, when it comes to Muslims and Islam, things are wrong.
“Media professionals should welcome this scrutiny and implement these recommendations to improve journalistic standards. “
The study also provided recommendations for future media releases, such as avoiding linking ordinary Muslims to crime, terrorism or extremism unless there is a justifiable reason to do so. , encouraging more diversity in newsrooms and for journalists to be aware of and reflect on potential biases. .
The author of the report, journalist Faisal Hanif, said: “While neither Muslims nor Islam should be immune from criticism or investigation, where warranted, we expect it to be. be done fairly and with due diligence, without resorting to tropes and generalizations.
“This study is valuable both to the academic community, and even more to editorial staff and journalists, and will in some way help improve reporting and coverage of Muslims and their beliefs in the years to come. “