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East & West - Essay Example

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How is the British Muslim community represented in a news media text of your choice? Discuss with reference to debates on assimilation and multiculturalism.  Unarguably, the print media environment in Britain is a vibrant industry, wielding important influence both in the British society and in the government…
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East & West
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Download file to see previous pages The negative treatment of the media, particularly, its penchant for humiliating Muslims, is seen as a major contributor to such phenomenon. This paper will examine how the Muslim community is represented in the print media. Background: The British Print Media In order to understand the dynamics of the Muslim representation in the print media, it is important to explain the nature and characteristics of the British press. As anywhere, the newspapers in Britain are categorized into two – broadsheet and tabloid. The fundamental differences of these two classifications pertain to the size and the content. According to Penock (2000), broad generalizations can also be made out of the news style wherein broadsheet is equated with “quality” press while the tabloid dwells more on the “popular” press, which relies on the sensational treatment of a small segment of news. (p131) With this in mind, it is easy to understand how broadsheets and tabloids could report the same story differently according to their style. Furthermore, both of the broadsheet and the tabloid media are popular and that the United Kingdom prides its print media to have the most number of national daily and Sunday newspapers throughout the world. Bednarek (2006) highlighted that the British public is third biggest newspaper buyers in the global ranking, with nearly 80 per cent of all households buying newspaper daily. (p12) The span of the geographical reach of the newspaper also highlights its capability to frame and shape public opinion and, in the process, influence all policy networks. This is underscored by the fact that the British newspapers are known to adopt specific editorial positions on various issues such as politics, class and race. For instance, The Daily Telegraph is known for supporting the Conservatives both during electoral exercise and in policymaking. Many British editors and journalists would go as far as saying that the materials they publish reflect the views of society and therefore mirror reality. Despite the claims to balance, hence, it is inevitable for the press to be biased against immigrants. It is helpful to remember that journalists are also human, living within the society that they report on. For a long time, British society has adopted the view that people of colour and different culture and ethnicity are alien, effectively embedding in all sectors and institutions within it a deep resentment towards plurality. Since the 1980s, there has been a gradual shift in policy, wherein a more diverse community is being targeted by encouraging multi-ethnic immigration but the resistance to diversity has persisted in many social institutions and this is true in the case of the media. According to Greenslade (2005), within the national paper newsrooms there are very few non-white journalists, certainly fewer than is representative of the overall non-white population that is why it is very likely that the values of indigenous Britons and their prejudices continue to hold sway in the popular press. (p11) Islamophobia As previously mentioned, there had been some progress in Britain’s attempts at building a pluralistic society. This, however, encountered a setback during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in the United States. There are some quarters that attribute this to the growing Islamophobia that permeates in Western societies like ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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