The Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM), a new Muslim Council of Britain project, has conducted a major study that has examined over 10,000 articles and clips referring to Muslims and Islam, coming to the conclusion that these stories in the mainstream media are contributing to Islamophobia.
Among the findings are that 59% of all articles associated Muslims with negative behaviour and over a third of all articles misrepresented or generalised Muslims. 37% of the articles which featured in right-leaning and religious publications achieved the most negative rating of “very biased”, and terrorism was the most negative theme in these articles.
TV was also examined, and the study found that 43% of all broadcast clips associated Muslims with negative behaviour, and that allowing the far-right a platform to broadcast their views on a number of debate programmes has allowed the propagation of false stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. Those behind the study suggest that the media has a duty of responsible reporting. The Guardian refers to Miqdaad Versi, of the Muslim Council of Britain, who requests that journalists consider the tone of their coverage and to include more positive stories about Muslims rather than focusing simply on terrorists and extremists.
The report is the first of a series of quarterly reports for the Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM), which describes its vision as to “both highlight negative trends in the media as well as promote good practice”. It notes that mainstream media reporting of Islam and Muslim contributes to “an atmosphere of rising hostility towards Muslims in Britain”. Director for CfMM Rizwanda Hamid said that their goal was “for there to be more responsible reporting through constructive dialogue with decision makers”, and suggested that robust evidence based methodology” which highlighted “deliberate misrepresentation and unconscious bias can only help increase transparency and accountability.” The Centre quotes Editor-in-Chief of the Express Gary Jones, who acknowledges the importance of such a centre because “We need to be monitored” due to the Islamophobia present in the media.
The report has been welcomed:
Shocking findings from @MuslimCouncil. The overwhelming coverage of Muslims/Islam in the media has been negative. Important bec hate crimes don't come out of nowhere; over half of all religious-based hate crimes in England and Wales have been against Muslims. Portrayal matters. https://t.co/sxQlHRaHQe
— Dr Zubaida Haque (@Zubhaque) July 9, 2019
As a Journalist and Indian person I welcome these findings. Islamophobia in pur media is rife and it is spreading to all those of South Asian descent. #reportaccurately
BBC News – Muslim Council of Great Britain campaigns for 'fairer' media coverage https://t.co/jiqi7ablEQ
— Sophie W (@sophwall97) July 9, 2019