The press must be free to criticise Islam

Jul 13, 2019 by

by Tom Slater, spiked:

The Muslim Council of Britain’s new report on the media is highly questionable.

What do the Daily Mail Australia, Joanna Lumley and the BBC’s Bodyguard drama have in common? Well, according to a new report by the Muslim Council of Britain, they have all misrepresented, generalised about or otherwise showed bias towards Muslims and / or Islam.

The MCB’s new Centre for Media Monitoring has analysed almost 11,000 articles, news clips and TV shows this quarter, and the prognosis doesn’t look good. Apparently, 59 per cent of the content assessed associated Muslims with negative behaviours, and one third misrepresented or generalised about Muslims. When you get beyond the summary pages, however, a different picture begins to appear.

I was expecting to see example after example of dangerous misinformation or clear-cut anti-Muslim bias. Such as when, in 2015, a Mail Online article by Katie Hopkins wrongly suggested that an east London family were extremists linked to al-Qaeda. Though the MCB wasn’t involved in that case, one of the organisation’s spokespeople, Miqdaad Versi, has been focusing on correcting stories about Muslims in recent years, and gaining a lot of coverage himself.

But in this report, such cases are largely conspicuous by their absence. The worst examples cited here amount to questionable sensationalism. One headline described a woman who converted to Islam to be with her toyboy as ‘brainwashed’, without making clear this was a quote from her jilted husband. Another headline misleadingly implied there was a problem of ‘Muslim-only pools’ in Sydney. Many more of the articles cited, however, are barely problematic at all.

Read here


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