A recent study found that the vast majority of the United Kingdom’s media coverage is negative when it comes to the portrayal of Muslims.
According to the Muslim Council of Britain, the new report is “one of the most extensive pieces of statistical research done on how Muslims and Islam are reported in the British media and reveals through 100’s of examples the sheer scale of negative reporting associated with Muslims in the UK.”
The 162-page study titled British Media’s Coverage of Muslims and Islam was conducted by the Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM). They analysed over 48,000 online articles as well as 5,500 broadcast clips between 2018 and 2020 and concluded that almost 60 per cent of the coverage associated the religion and its people with terrorism or extremism. They also found that 47 per cent of television clips associated Muslims and/or Islam with negative behaviour. After digging a little deeper with their conclusions, they also discovered that right-wing and other religious publications had a greater percentage of articles demonstrating bias or generalisations of the faith compared to general outlets.
The Director of the CfMM, Rizwana Hamid explained: “This latest report does not seek to place blame on any newspaper or broadcaster nor on any individual journalist or reporter. CfMM remains committed to a free media which reports without fear or favour and holds those in positions of power to account. However, it is time for the industry to admit that, on occasion and too often when it comes to Muslims and Islam, it gets things wrong. Media professionals should welcome this scrutiny, and put in place these recommendations to improve journalistic standards.”
Alison Phillips, the editor of The Mirror, also added: “This report… shows how much we as journalists must question ourselves and the work we are producing in relation to reporting of Muslims and Islam.
“Everyone who works in the media has a duty to ensure the content they create is fair and responsible. That duty is even greater for those who work in reporting news which shapes the national debate. Yet this report records that the majority of media misrepresentation is still happening within news.”
Overall, the study emphasises just how educated all media personnel need to be when it comes to reporting on minority groups. Whether we like it or not, it’s obvious that journalists and news reporters hold tremendous power and influence in our society and it’s just not good enough to still be perpetuating falsehoods and demonising certain groups for their difference in beliefs. We need to put more effort into moving away from archaic stereotypes and changing the narrative around them so that there can be more understanding between us all.
That’s the only way we will achieve a more compassionate and progressive society.
Read the full report here.