Globally, the issue of informative media coverage on news related to Muslim communities and Islam religion has hit the media. The debate on these issues had its origins in Australia long before the famous September 11 2001; it was addressed in the early nineteen nineties by many scholars. In Australia, the debate on media coverage on Muslim communities has been based on the context of war on terror, religious discrimination, cultural differences, national security, and immigration, illiteracy, as well as asylum seekers. Recently, there are many speculations on the impacts of media coverage on Islam in Australia and the entire globe. As a matter of fact, there are numerous factors that hinder informative media coverage in Australia, especially on news stories related to the Islam religion and Muslim community.
Stereotype and historical rhetoric are also another factor. Certainly, negative stereotype thinking has affected media informative coverage on Muslims. People in Australia associate Muslim with terror and violence, they believe that nothing respectable comes from Muslims. Political and social arena has often intrinsically viewed Islam as a violent religion. It is mentioned in the same level with terrorism. With this stereotype thinking, Muslims gets little of coverage in the media industry (Saeed & Akbarzadeh 2001). These phenomena did not just begin after the September 11 attack, a survey carried out in the year 1999 by Muslim council showed that media coverage on Muslim and Islam was overwhelmingly negative without any sufficient prove. Most of the negative view was just stereotype.
Poor co-ordination among the Muslim organization adds to the many reasons towards low media coverage on Muslim community. Muslim organizations have extremely poor co-ordination among them; hence they are not in a position to develop a common agenda as well as sharing of strategies to increase media coverage on their stories. Additionally, Muslims have isolated themselves with other religious groups, making it difficult to be covered with media (Richardson & Poole 2006).
Media law in Australia is always set to protect the journalists and media houses. Recently, media laws were passed that relaxed the boundaries preventing single operators to control many media in a single market. When media market is run by a single operator, it becomes a barrier to Muslim programs. Notably, there were diverse program material in the past were monopoly was well advocated (Rane 2010). Furthermore, people believe that information needed to make political and social decisions come from media. Australian media laws have granted media owners powers and freedom that can lead to manipulation of reports. In most cases, this powers have affected the coverage on Islam communities; they are given minimum time.
Muslims in Australia always blame the media for the consistently having wrong conception of the Muslims. Content analysis of Muslim stories is remarkably low, and is mostly demonstrated pejoratively. The recent definition of what is newsworthy concerning Islam is negative; image of Muslims and Islam is presented narrowly in Australia.
There are few Muslim representatives in most Australian media companies. This implies that many journalists are not in a position to understand the cultural values, as well as Muslim stories, hence hindering its coverage. Notably, there is discrimination in the employment sector. Meaning few Muslims community is employed. Muslim communities in Australia are among the minority groups. Therefore, due to their numbers they rarely get the attention of the media. Muslim in Australia is widely fragmented by race, ethnicity, linguistics, and culture. It is so difficult for media to elaborate on its diverse complexity (Abdalla, Rane & Ewart 2005).
Illiteracy, level among the Muslim community is exceptionally high. It becomes so difficult for journalists, especially those who are non-Muslims to research on Muslim community. Literacy level determines the degree of communication and how effective it is. Islamic religious practices in Australia are seen as complex, unique and secret (Halim 2010). Muslim communities lack exemplary leadership, either politically and in the journalism industry. Davison that exists within Australian Muslim community, usually dominating along ethnic lines have enabled other groups to play politics and divide. Hence, no one pushes for the coverage of Muslim stories in Australian media. In addition, they lack management support in the media industry that could help in development of professional. As a matter of fact, frequency of bringing up media issues is unusually low; it is only when there is a catastrophe that Muslim community receives coverage (Saeed & Akbarzadeh 2001).
Media coverage on Islam society is based on negative ideologies. Islam is believed to be a religion that is not compatible with peace, human rights, democracy, as well as contemporary values. These Islam ideologies prevent the collection and media concentration on Muslim communities. Muslim religious ideologies are viewed are unique and incompatible with Australian culture. Australian Muslims are viewed as culturally incompatible, while Muslim immigrants are potential warning to national security. This scenario hinders the coverage of Muslim communities in Australia (Yasmeen 2010).
Security is one of the factors that facilitate the work of a journalist. In Australia, many people believe that Muslims are dangerous people. Therefore, the issue of security in Muslim popular regions limits the ability of media representatives to move into Australian Muslim stronghold (Richardson & Poole 2006). The government of Australia regulates the coverage of information by the media, hence for the purpose of national security government advocates for small coverage on Muslim communities. Media policies affect the freedom of expression among some groups in Australia, especially the Muslims. Muslims have been discriminated to the extent that the coverage of their news is so narrow.
Muslim is more focused on their culture and cultural activities. The stories of Muslims are intended to reach a small number of people; hence few investors and media stakeholders take decidedly minimal concern on Muslim story covering. Numerous Muslims programs are not interested and no profit making. Religious practices form a vital part of Muslim life, rather than entertainment activities.
Powerful trend on anti-immigration policies too hinders media coverage on Muslims. Australian government is opposed to the migration of Muslims from other regions for numerous reasons. In fact, it has become so political and discriminative. Some of the main reason for anti-immigration includes negative impacts on environment, economic cost, and security. Due to this Muslims do not support media coverage in fear of publicity (Rane 2010). Perhaps another obstacle to informative media coverage of Muslim communities is the lack of context and information among editors, newsroom directors, as well as journalists. Furthermore, it is perceived by many media stations that Muslim stories do not attract audiences either in Australia or around the world.
Various features of the contemporary and modern newspaper publishing and broadcasting are not interested in covering the information and stories related to Muslims and Islam. Good affair stories require a lot of commitment in both time and space so as to describe causalities and complex events. Journalists and media representative s are not committed to stories related to Muslim communities hence hindering its coverage (Yasmeen 2010). Such forms of Islam stories also require a media reporter to maintain the relationship with crucial sources even in moments of low national interest. Media fraternity in Australia has developed remarkably poor relationship with Muslims.
Australians see Muslims community thorough their press coverage of international affairs. Recently, the entire media coverage on the Muslim news became so critical after the September 11.News in Australia portray Muslims as irrational terrorist, violent and conservatisms. In recent times, there are numerous speculations on the impacts of media coverage on Islam in Australia and the entire globe. As a matter of fact, there are numerous factors that hinder informative media coverage in Australia, especially on news stories related to the Islam religion and Muslim community. These factors include lack of co-ordination, poor leadership, discrimination, illiteracy, prejudice, media policies, stereotype, security, as well as media laws. Australia as a nation should address this factors in order to ensure equal and wide coverage of Muslim stories by the media.
Abdalla, M. Rane, H & Ewart, J. 2005. Islam, and the Australian Mews Media. Melbourne:
Saeed, A & Akbarzadeh. 2001. Muslim Communities in Australia. University of New South
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Halim, R. 2010. Islam and Contemporary Civilization. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
Rane, H. 2010. Contemporary Civilization. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press
Yasmeen, S. 2010, Muslims in Australia. Melbourne: Melbourne University press.
Richardson, J & Poole, E.2006. Muslims and the News Media. New York: Wiley.