The Sunday Times editor-in-chief said British newspapers made mistakes in their coverage of Muslims, before launching a report concluding that the British media are very critical of Islam.
Emma Tucker, who took over the newspaper last year, said she welcomed the Muslim Council of Britain’s report “knowing full well that it contains criticism from the press, including my own newspaper. “.
She said: âSome of these criticisms are valid. Some that I would respectfully disagree with. All, however, are useful. To move forward and serve this wide readership, we want to hear the views of each party. “
Tucker, tipped to be John Witherow’s potential successor as editor of The Times, said his newspaper needed to hire a more diverse staff to ensure it improved its coverage of Islam while noting that ” sometimes we will just see the problems differently â.
She also avoided criticizing her predecessor, Martin Ivens, who edited the Sunday Times during the investigation period. She said: âBy its nature, a report like this needs to focus on the past. My job is to focus on the future. I want our media coverage to be fair but fearless, and our commentators to be robust but responsible. “
The report was produced by the Center for Media Monitoring, a project of the Muslim Council of Great Britain. After analyzing 48,000 articles online published between late 2018 and 2019 by UK-based news providers, its researchers concluded that 59% associated Muslims or Islam with negative behavior or qualities.
In general, the right-wing media were more critical of Islam than the left-wing publications. The Spectator had the highest proportion of articles about Muslims classified as “antagonistic,” with 37% of articles so classified. The New Statesman had the highest proportion of articles considered “Muslim-friendly” at 16%.
The Center for Media Monitoring was founded by Miqdaad Versi, who has spent years pushing the British media to change the language they use to describe Muslims. He regularly uses the press regulator Ipso to correct articles on Islam and recently launched libel proceedings in the High Court against the writer Ed Husain.
Earlier this week, Spectator columnist Charles Moore critical Tucker for agreeing to speak alongside Versi to promote the report. Moore has claimed that Versi is “pushing for special treatment of Muslim subjects” and trying to “make a free press impossible” by controlling what can be written about Islam.
The report’s authors said they did not want uncritical coverage of Muslims, but sought to improve the quality of reporting in British media. They said, âEven stories that report that a Muslim has achieved something remarkable are framed by their supposed adherence to liberal Western values ââwhile freeing themselves from the shackles of their own faith or tradition.
The spectator was approached to comment on the results.