The editors of The Sunday Times and Daily Mirror have backed a report that found almost 60% of online news articles made negative associations with Muslims and Islam and called for “fairer” reporting.
The top three news providers most likely to publish negative articles about Muslims were the agencies AFP, Reuters and Associated Press, the report claimed. It argued they “set the framing of Muslims and Islam” in news reporting.
It called on news wires to “take particular care” in the terms they use given they are often copied wholesale by other media, as well as in their “reliance on singular witness reports especially related to terrorism given how unreliable they have been proven to be in many cases”.
The research from the Muslim Council of Britain’s Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) also found that 47% of TV clips associated Muslims or Islam with negative traits or behaviour.
The CfMM was founded by Miqdaad Versi, who routinely monitors press coverage of Muslims and Islam and makes complaints where he feels they are appropriate to the UK press regulators.
A Reuters spokesperson told Press Gazette: “Reuters is committed to reporting on the world in a fair, independent and balanced way, consistent with our trust principles.
“We are also committed to building a diverse newsroom that reflects the world we report on, and ensuring our journalism accurately represents diverse perspectives. We welcome this report and will review its findings.”
The new report follows analysis of almost 48,000 online news articles and more than 5,500 TV clips following daily monitoring of coverage mentioning Muslims and Islam, whether in a passing manner or as the main focus of a story.
Some 34 mainstream news and current affairs websites and 38 TV channels, including all regional channels, were monitored between October 2018 and September 2019. A broader sweep of coverage was also examined in 2019/2020, taking in some of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report accused publications on the right politically of “increasingly regurgitating far-right tropes” and claimed commentators on the right “continuously rail against Muslims as an existential threat to Britain and the wider world”.
Suggested reading for living in the image of the Loving and the Most Merciful God by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times: