Covering Islam in Western Media: From Islamic to Islamophobic Discourses

Bouchaib Benzehaf

Abstract


A fundamental role allocated to the media is the shaping of public opinion about topical issues, thus making the act of obtaining accurate and verified information a major challenge. In this context, Said (1997) argues that coverage of Islam by the media has always been lacking in subjectivity, and Arabs/Muslims have at best been obscured and at worst “othered” and demonized rather than revealed by the media. The 9/11 attacks have re-triggered an explosion of media coverage of Islam and Muslims with the terms "Muslim" and "Terrorist" becoming synonymous in many western countries. The attacks have been exploited to cause a social anxiety/panic toward Islam and Muslim cultures leading to Islamophobia which is being further reinforced in Trump’s America. Situated within the framework of Said’s Orientalism, which helps us understand the relationships between the West and the Muslim world and also framed by agenda-setting media theory, which explains how media manipulate public opinion, this paper argues that Islamophobia results from the way the news stories regarding Islam and Muslims are covered. In particular, these stories are media(ated) and thus distorted. The paper borrows tools from critical discourse analysis, particularly global meanings and lexicalization, to analyse selected examples of media(ted) coverage of Islam and Muslim stories from different media sources with the aim of offering a holistic review of the scope and nature of the coverage of Islam and Muslims. In light of the results, we suggest interfaith dialogue and intercultural education as measures that can bring about understanding and tolerance between different religious communities.


Keywords


Media(ation), othering, Islamophobia, CDA, intercultural education

Full Text:

PDF

References


Alazzany, M. A. O. A. (2008). A critical discourse analysis of the representation of Islam and Muslims following the 9/11 events as reported in The New York Times (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Malaysia.

Alghamdi, E. A. (2015). The representation of Islam in Western media: The coverage of Norway terrorist attacks. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 4(3), 198-204.

Cottle, S. (2006). Mediatized Conflict: Developments in Media and Conflict Studies. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Douai, A., & Lauricella, S. (2014). The ‘Terrorism Frame’ in ‘Neo-Orientalism’: Western News and the Sunni-Shia Muslim Sectarian Relations after 9/11. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 10(1), 7-24.

Fairclough, N. (1995). Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Longman.

Gitlin, T. (2003).The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New left. London: University of California Press.

Hafez, K. (2000). The West and Islam in the Mass Media: Cornerstones for a New International Culture of Communication in the 21st Century. ZEI Discussion Paper. C 61. Center for European Integration Studies. Bonn, Germanny.

Kempf, W. (2002). Conflict Coverage and Conflict Escalation. In Kempf, W. & Luostarinen, H. (eds.). (2002). Journalism and the New World Order Vol.2. Göteborg: Nordicom, 59- 72.

Khan, M. (2009). Huntington's Prophecies: A Tribute to an Outstanding Political Genius. Retrieved from Islam Watch: Telling the Truth About Islam: http://islam-watch.org/MA_Khan/Huntington-Prophecies-Tribute-Political-Genius.htm

Lehren, A.W., & Tavernise, S. (2010) A grim portrait of civilian deaths in Iraq. New York Times. Retrieved from:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/23/world/middleeast/23casualties.html

Oboler, A. (2016). The normalisation of islamophobia through social media: Facebook. In: Awan Imran (Ed.), Islamophobia in Cyberspace: Hate Crimes Go Viral (pp. 41-62). Routledge, New York.

Poole, E. & Richardson, J. (2006). Introduction. In E. Poole & J. Richardson (Eds.), Muslims and the news media (pp. 1-24). London: I.B. Tauris.

Revell, L. (2010). Religious education, conflict and diversity: an exploration of young children’s perceptions of Islam. Educational Studies, 36(2), 207-215.

Saeed, A. (2007). Media, Racism and Islamophobia: The Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Media. Sociology Compass, 1(2).

Said, E. (1981). Covering Islam: How the media and the experts determine how we see the rest of the world. New York: Pantheon Books.

Schrag, Robert L., & Manoocher N. Javidi. (1997). Through a glass darkly: American media images of Middle Eastern cultures and their potential impact on young people.” In U.S. Media and the Middle East, ed. Yahya R. Kamalipour, pp. 212–221. Westport: Praeger.

Severin, W. J., & Tankard, J. W. (2000). Communication theories: Origins, methods, and uses in the mass media (5th ed.). New York: Longman.

Stevenson, N., (1995). Understanding Media Cultures: Social Theory and Mass Communication. London: Sage.

Törnberg, A., & Törnberg, P. (2016). Muslims in social media discourse: Combining topic modeling and critical discourse analysis. Discourse, Context and Media, 13, 132–142.

Unchit, Sumanawika. (2016). A CDA of Thai and American Music Radio Programs in Terms of the Influence of the Language of American Culture on the Language of Thai Culture. Journal of English Language Teaching and Linguistics, 1(2), 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21462/jeltl.v1i2.22

Van Dijk, T. (1991). Racism and the press. London: Sage.

Van Dijk, T. (1998). Ideology: a multidisciplinary approach. London: Sage.

Wanta, W., & Wu, Y. C. (1992). Interpersonal communication and the agenda-setting process. Journalism Quarterly, 69, 847-855.

Zaher, A. (2009). A Critical Discourse Analysis of News Reports on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict in Selected Arab and Western Newspapers. Nottingham Trent University.

http://irep.ntu.ac.uk:1801/webclient/StreamGate?folder_id=0&dvs=1431882950396 ~704. (25 November, 2014).




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21462/jeltl.v2i1.33

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.






JELTL (Journal of English Language Teaching and Linguistics); Web: www.jeltl.org; Email:journal.eltl@gmail.com


Creative Commons License
JELTL by http://www.jeltl.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


Indexed and Abstracted BY: