Viewing Islam through a media lens

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How the news media shapes relations between Islam and the West is the focus of a new book Media Framing of the Muslim World co-authored by Griffith academics.

Written by Associate Professors Halim Rane and Jacqui Ewart from the School of Humanities and John Martinkus from the University of Tasmania, the book examines how news about Islam is produced and consumed.

While not the first written on media coverage of the Muslim world, the book is unique in the way it engages with key concepts, theories and issues in media studies as they pertain to Islam-West relations.

Associate Professor Halim Rane said the book’s main premise was that mainstream media coverage was largely responsible for the often, sometimes misguided, public perceptions of the Muslim world.

“Recent developments in Egypt and Tunisia indicate a reversal of the democratic gains of the Arab Spring and there seems to be no end in sight to the civil war in Syria,’’ he said.

“Meanwhile, in Western countries, news stories about Muslims have focused on the threat of home-grown terrorism as well as the infiltration of terrorist cells from overseas.

“Muslim culture and religious practice have also come under scrutiny, raising debates about national values, the failure of multiculturalism and the challenges to social cohesion posed by immigrant and asylum seekers.”

He said they hoped the book would help to address some of these misguided perceptions and foster a better understanding of Islam and the Muslim World.

Among its many topics, the book covers Islamophobia, how reporting on terrorism and asylum seekers impacts on public opinion and policy making and how journalism and audiences have evolved in the decade since 9/11.

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