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Religion in the News Reporting Across Cultures: Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age February 15-17 :: Alexandria, Egypt

Basis: 275,232 statements about religion / secular ideologies in 19 media, 2007-2009 79,580 statements in 40 media, 07-12/2009

Media Tenor International AG Dr. Christian Kolmer c.kolmer@mediatenor.com +49 176 19134512


Agenda

  Strategic Media Intelligence   The Study   Religion in the news 07-12/2009   Special: Swiss Minaret Initiative   Conclusions

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Strategic Media Intelligence The Media Tenor Concept

Media Tenor International Since 1994 leading provider of international media content analysis on a continuous and wide-ranging basis Supports external communication efforts through strategic insight into the media landscape and detailed evaluation of communication efforts. Evaluates the media outcomes of communication efforts and identify relationships to public opinion data. Provides proactive media intelligence rather than reactive summaries of what is happening in the media Provides analysis of actual presence versus audience awareness threshold. Provides a wide range of products and services for business, NGO, academic and political clients.

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Strategic Media Intelligence The Media Tenor Concept

Partner for Media Intelligence: MT Content Analysis ●  Is a systematic, objective and verifiable scientific method to ascertain the formal and factual characteristics of texts and other forms of media. ●  Allows the meticulous monitoring global trends in more than 750 media. ●  Provides pro-active media intelligence rather than reactive summaries of what is happening in the media. ●  Analyzes details such as subjects, topics, sources, evaluation of tone and trend analysis ●  Identifies and categorizes each report, sentence by sentence, according to a defined set of more than 700 criteria. ●  Evaluates the media outcomes of communication efforts and identifies relationships to public opinion data. ●  Provides analysis of actual presence versus audience awareness threshold.

Media Tenor has 17 years of experience in communication and more than 90 million data sets of ongoing research available. 4


Strategic Media Intelligence The Media Tenor Concept

MT: Transparency on Media’s Impact on Reality

‘Reality’ - Politics - Economy - Science - Society Direct impressions, discussions

Agenda-Building Agenda-Cutting Selection by journalists

Inter-Media Agenda Setting ‘Media reality’ Media Agenda

Political PR Public Affairs

Public perception of reality

Public AgendaSetting

Public Agenda 5


Strategic Media Intelligence Examples

People Help – as Long as They Know Help is Needed

Donation. 178 Million (USD)

Donation. 8 Million (USD)

Coverage of Asian tsunami vs. Pakistan earthquake - German T.V. news

Basis: German TV Media: ARD Tagesschau 7 Tagesthemen, ZDF heute 7 heute journal RTL Aktuell, SAT1 NEWS, Pro7 Newstime

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Agenda

  Strategic Media Intelligence   The Study   Religion in the news 07-12/2009   Special: Swiss Minaret Initiative   Conclusions

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The Study Background

The Annual Dialogue Report ●  Commenced by the World Economic Forum in 2007 and published first in 2008. ●  Taken over by the C1 World Dialogue in 2009 “The C-1 World Dialogue is a high-level International Body for the advance of peaceful and harmonious West-Islamic Relations. It aims to be the foremost global platform promoting understanding and improved relations between the Western and Islamic Worlds.” ●  Co-Chairs are the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa and the Bishop of London, The Rt Revd. and Rt. Hon. Dr. Richard Chartres ●  The Annual Dialogue Report is part of the work of the C-1 World Dialogue, to “to provide the data with which to assess progress and what works in terms of improving Muslim-West relations.” ●  The analysis addresses religious protagonists, religious issues and the relationship between the Western and the Muslim Worlds. 8


The Study Methodology

Content Analysis ●  Media Tenor’s content analysis which has been developed from the year 2007 for the Annual Dialogue Report included a three-and-a half month long content analysis of three TV news shows, three print publications and one business publication from 24 countries. ●  The ongoing analysis focuses on TV news on account of their broad impact on public opinion. Analysis of TV coverage in 2008 was based on 19 TV news programs from nine countries. The analysis was conducted by 43 Media Tenor researchers who coded the content in their native languages. ●  In addition to coding an article’s formal aspects (date, style, length and media outlet) every message in the media was assigned a numeric code by a human analyst in their native language. Coding was performed on a “statement” level, meaning that every combination of a protagonist and a topic was coded as a single statement. Depending on its complexity, a single sentence could produce multiple statements. 9


The Study Methodology

Variables I ●  Protagonist: Which religion or secular ideology is described – either by the journalists or in a quote? When a religious protagonist, e.g. a Muslim cleric is cited in the medium, he is the protagonists. If he speaks about another religious protagonist, two statements are to be coded. Examples: Shia Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Buddhism ●  Perspective: Which perspective of religion is described? The perspective can focus on individual believers, clerics, armed groups or politicians, that are put in the religious context by the medium. ●  Classification: What is the role of the protagonist in the Western-Islamic Dialogue? ●  Area: From which country originates the protagonist? ●  Timeframe: Does the statement relate to the present, the future or the past? ●  Topic: Which subject issue is addressed in the statement? 10


The Study Methodology

Variables II ●  Explicit tone: How is the protagonist evaluated with reference to explicitly positive or negative terms? Examples “bad”, “murderer”, “loser”, “martyr” vs. “suicide bomber” ●  Implicit tone: How is the protagonist evaluated with reference to the positive or negative context? Examples: “being hit by a bomb attack” is a negative context ●  Ambivalent evaluations depend on the context and the attitudes that are connected in a certain society with some terms and concepts. Examples: “Martyr” has different connotations in Western and Muslimmajority countries. ●  Source: Whose opinion is rendered in the statement? The source may be the journalist or a quoted protagonist. ●  Nationality of the source. 11


The Study Methodology

Coding Example I “In his first major address on Middle East peace since the Islamist group Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody sweep last month, Mr. Bush pledged to restart the moribund peace process by pouring aid and diplomatic attention on the new government established by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.” – The Wall Street Journal, US Edition. “Bush Pins Peace Hopes on Fatah,” July 17, 2007, Page A6.

Statement 1: Bush gives an address on Middle East peace Protagonist: Bush Explicit rating: Neutral Implicit rating: Neutral Bush’s activity – giving an address – is not explicitly qualified, nor is it generally considered to be positive or negative activity in and of itself.

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The Study Methodology

Coding Example II Statement 2: The Islamist group Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody sweep. Protagonist: Hamas Explicit rating: Negative Implicit rating: Negative “Bloody” is both a negative adjective and an indication of a negative circumstance. Statement 3: Mr. Bush pledged to restart the moribund peace process… Protagonist: Bush Explicit rating: Ambivalent Implicit rating: Ambivalent Both the explicit and implicit ratings are ambivalent – a restart of the peace process is generally considered to be positive, but the fact that the peace process is “moribund” is negative. Ambivalent statements are analyzed as devoid of a clear tone. 13


The Study Methodology

Media Set Germany

ARD Tagesthemen ZDF heute journal RTL Aktuell

France

TF 1

UK

BBC 1 News at Ten ITV Late News BBC World News BBC 2 Newsnight

Italy

Rai Uno

Switzerland

SF DRS Tagesschau SF Rundschau SF Bรถrse

Spain

TVE: Telediario

USA

CNN NBC Nightly News ABC: World News Tonight CBS Evening News

Lebanon

LBC TV Al-Manar

Turkey

TRT 1

UAE

Al-Arabiyah Al-Jazeera Dubai TV

China

CCTV

South Africa

SABC 3 News@One SABC 3: News @ 10 SABC 2 Afrikaans News SABC 3 English News E-TV News Zulu/Xhosa News

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Agenda

  Strategic Media Intelligence   The Annual Dialogue Report   Religion in the news 07-12/2009   Special: Swiss Minaret Initiative   Conclusions

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Religion in TV News Intro: Public Opinion

Public Opinion on the “Other� Gets Worse

The problem: Negative attitudes towards Muslims are on the rise in Europe and attitudes towards Jews and Christian are getting worse in Muslim countries, despite the easing of tensions in Iraq and increased efforts to foster the dialogue between the cultures. Source: The Pew Global Attitudes Project, September 17, 2008, Question 10g, pp. 16 & 14

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Religion in TV News Salience of religious issues

Religion per se with Low Visibility in Overall News

Religious topics in the narrow sense – religious holidays, theology and the relationship between religious communities and their environment – play only a minor role in overall TV coverage, compared for instance to party politics (8.6%) or crime (6.9%). Basis: 151,748 news stories in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Salience of religious protagonists

Religious Extremists as Visible as Religious Leaders

The analysis of the main protagonists in the news shows – those persons and organizations that are in the focus of the news stories – corroborates the results of the topic analysis. Basis: 151,748 news stories in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Salience of religious protagonists in foreign news

Foreign News Shapes Perception of Religions

Terrorists and armed groups that are labeled as religiously motivated or affiliated get significant more coverage in foreign news than in domestic reports. Religious protagonists get as well a higher share of foreign news in Western countries. Basis: 71.159 foreign news stories in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Salience of religious protagonists in foreign news

Detail Analysis: Islam Dominates the News

The detail analysis on the level of the single statements shows a strong dominance of Islam and Muslim countries – with the exception of Chinese and South African news, which focused strongly on Christianity in the 2nd half of 2009. Basis: 79,580 statements about religion and secular ideologies in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Visibility of religions and ideologies in international TV news, 2007-2009

Obama Brings the West Back in the Fray

Last year the West was much more strongly in evidence in the context of religion and the dialogue between the Western and Islamic Worlds than in the previous years. Coverage of Islam decreased slightly from 2007 to 2009. Basis: 275,232 statements about religions and ideologies in 19 TV news programs

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Religion in TV news Visibility of Judaism & non-Christian/non-Islamic religion in TV news, 2007-09

TV Shows no Alternatives to Christianity and Islam

Opinion-leading TV news focuses on Islam and Christianity resp. the West when reporting about religious protagonists or religious issues. All other religions receive only infrequent reporting. The high presence of the Dalai Lama was an exception. Basis: 275,232 statements about religions and ideologies in 19 TV news programs

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Religion in TV News Evaluation of religions and secular ideologies at large

Overall Perception of Religion Critical in the West

On balance coverage of religion at large was most critical in Western countries. Reporting about religious issues in Chinese and South African TV was rather infrequent, but this led only to a strongly polarized pattern of reporting. Basis: 79,580 statements about religion and secular ideologies in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Evaluation of religions and secular ideologies in 2008

Flashback: Attitude Towards the “Other”

Negativity in the context of religion is not confined to TV. The Annual Dialogue Report 2008 which comprised an in-depth analysis of print outlets corroborates the results of the ongoing analysis. Moderate reporting about “the other” was the exception. 24


Religion in TV News Evaluation of Islam, 07-12/2009

Low Volume Drives Negativity in China & South Africa

While the high amount of negativity about Islam can be traced back to the dominance of news about violence, war and terrorism, the lack of positive news in Western outlets is even more dangerous. Basis: 17,031 / 4,671 / 486 statements about Islam in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Long-term analysis Coverage of Islam, 04/2007-11/2009

Iraq Surge Defuses the War – at Least in the News

Overall coverage of Islam was much higher in 2007, when the war in Iraq made the headlines especially in British and US news. Since then the volume of coverage decreased significantly. Basis: 83,288 statements about religions and ideologies in 19 TV news programs

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Long-term analysis Coverage of Islam, 04/2007-11/2009

But Good News Remains Infrequent

The overall level of negative news has not been affected by the declining importance of the Iraq war. But most important: There has been only very limited coverage of positive developments with regard to Islam – there were only few green shoots in 2009. Basis: 83,288 statements about religions and ideologies in 19 TV news programs

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Religion in TV News Evaluation of Muslim countries

Muslim Countries Even More Strongly Criticized

Political developments – like the elections in Iran or the controversy about Iran’s nuclear program – are very often framed in a religious context, e.g. with reference to the role of Muslim clerics in Iran’s government. Basis: 9,065 / 5,648 / 512 statements about Muslim countries in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Evaluation of the West

The West is Rated Negatively in all Regions

The West at large and Western countries gets little support in all regions. Coverage focuses strongly on the role of the U.S. Americans account for 36% of all the protagonists covered in the context of the “West” – but criticism was down in 2009. Basis: 12,444 / 2,272 / 290 statements about the West and Western countries in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Evaluation of Christianity

Christianity Profits From Pope’s Visit to Jordan

Christianity plays a marginal role outside Western media – and is reduced to Catholicism. This makes for a rather critical image, based among others on cases of child abuse, the ambivalent role towards Hitler and structural problems. Basis: 7,235 / 514 / 968 statements about Christianity in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Evaluation of Judaism

Judaism Associated with Bad News

Israeli protagonists are primarily associated with the West – i.e. in a secular perspective. Jews are covered predominantly negative in all regions, either as victims of violence or as party and aggressor in the Middle East Conflict. Basis: 691 / 329 / 41 statements about Judaism in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Evaluation of other religions

No Strong Support for other Religions Outside ZA

While Christianity and Islam dominate reporting about religion, other beliefs are only rarely visible on TV screens. Coverage of “sects” and “cults” tends to focus on negative aspects as well. Hindus and Buddhists were covered positively in South Africa. Basis: 1,383 / 127 / 179 statements about other religions in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Perspectives on Christianity

Christianity: Religious Perspective Dominates Image

Patterns of perception of “the other side� vary widely between the cultures. Christianity is covered primarily with reference to religious leaders, believers and clerics outside the Muslim-country media. Basis: 7,235 / 514 / 968 statements about Christianity in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Perspectives on Islam

Violent Groups Shape Image of Islam

Armed groups like the Taliban and terrorists account for half of all references to Islam in non-Muslim country’s news, while the religious perspective is significantly weak in Muslim-majority country’s news programs. Basis: 17,031 / 4,671 / 486 statements about Islam in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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In-depth analysis 2008/2009 Coverage of religious leaders

Muslim leaders gain in visibility

Only few religious leaders break through the awareness threshold. The Pope remained the most visible religious leader both in Western and in Muslim countries. When controversy died down after the Olympic Games, TV lost the interest in the Dalai Lama. Basis: 8,869 / 8,398 statements about religious leaders in 30 TV news programs

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In-depth analysis 2008/2009 Evaluation of religious leaders

Conflict drove coverage of the Dalai Lama in 2008

Christian leaders meet with positive coverage, when they end their terms, like for instance Karl Cardinal Lehmann or Bishop Wolfgang Huber in Germany. The reverence of the people towards the late Pope is reflected in the news as well. Basis: 8,869 / 8,398 statements about religious leaders in 30 TV news programs

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Religion in TV News Christianity in Muslim-majority country’s media: The issues

Christianity not Involved in the Clash of Cultures

When Arabic and Turkish TV addressed Christianity they focused only infrequently on international politics. The visit of the Pope to Jordan dominated the screens and made for an overall positive evaluation of Christianity. Basis: 514 statements about Christianity in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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In-depth analysis 2008/2009 Evaluation of Christianity in different TV media markets: The issues

Christianity has an image problem in the media

Christianity is present in the news as a religious issue, but coverage of the Church is clearly polarized. The Church is not immune against the impact of scandals, which makes for an overall negative media image. Basis: 24,466 / 20,582 statements about religions and ideologies in 30 TV news programs

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Religion in TV News The West in Muslim-majority country’s media: The issues

West Perceived as Anti-Islamic

References to anti-Islamic attitudes in the West and anti-Islamic policies dominate coverage of the West and Western countries in Muslim-majority country’s media. But there are some signs for hope. Basis: 2,272 statements about the West and Western countries in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Islam in Western country’s media: The issues

Islam Primarily Seen as Security Problem

Coverage of Islam in Western news is not only predominantly negative, but as well negative with regard to all aspects. There is virtually no positive coverage of Islam at all in Western TV programs. Basis: 17,031 statements about Islam in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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In-depth analysis 2008/2009 Evaluation of Islam in different TV media markets: The issues

Terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan Dominates Agenda

International conflicts, warfare and terrorism account for almost half of all news about Islam in the last years. Reporting about religious practice and holiday has improved slightly. Basis: 30,774 / 27,289 statements about religions and ideologies in 30 TV news programs

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Religion in TV News Muslim countries in Western country’s media: The issues

Islamist Terrorists Dominate the Screens

The perception gap for institutionalized Islam and the blurred boundaries between State and Religion in many Muslim countries leads to a coverage of Muslim countries as well. The impact of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan is strongly visible. Basis: 9,065 statements about Muslim countries in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Visibility of religions: Media comparison, 04/2007-01/2009

Italy focuses on Christianity

Coverage of Islam was lowest in Switzerland. This contributed to the “surprising� success of the Anti-Minaret initiative. A lack of visibility plays in the hands of those protagonists that seek to fan the flames to foster their own plans. 43


Religion in TV News Visibility of Islam/Muslim countries: Media comparison, 04/2007-01/2009

Islamist Terrorists Dominate the Screens

U.S. and British news focused more strongly on Islamic protagonists, as their troops were – before the year 2009 – more strongly engaged in fighting Islamist armed groups in Afghanistan and Iraq. 44


Religion in TV News Evaluation of Islam: Media comparison, 04/2007-01/2009

Islam: German and U.S. news focuses on terrorists

There was no uniform attitude towards Islam in Western countries, while Al-Arabiyah and Al-Jazeera addressed critical issue – e.g. the infighting among Palestinians as well. There is no significant positive coverage in any program. 45


Religion in TV News Evaluation of Christianity: Media comparison, 04/2007-01/2009

Christianity: Differences in Europe

Countries wit as stronger protestant background, like the UK and Germany, show a markedly more negative coverage of Christianity than Catholic countries like France or Italy. 46


Religion in TV News Coverage of Islam: The sources

Journalists Shape the Image of Islam

While politicians and even companies manage to grab a significant share of voice, religious protagonists only get a feeble voice in their own affairs. Especially Muslim representatives are rather shy to interact with the media. Basis: 17,031 / 4,671 / 486 statements about Islam in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Religion in TV News Coverage of Christianity: The sources

Christian Sources Better Heard in Western World

Some Christian protagonist – especially the Pope but as well for instance the leaders of the Protestant Church in Germany – have established professional media relations. But they do not transcend the boundary into the media of the Muslim communities. Basis: 7,235 / 514 / 968 statements about Christianity in 40 TV news programs from 12 countries

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Agenda

  Strategic Media Intelligence   The Annual Dialogue Report   Religion in the news 07-12/2009   Special: Swiss Minaret Initiative   Conclusions

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Religion in Swiss TV news, 09-11/2009 Visibility and evaluation of religions

Swiss TV Moderately Critical on Islam

Coverage of Islam in Swiss media was rather cautious over the last three months: The share of critical statements remained below 20%, but there were no significant positive contributions. Basis: 1,016 statements about religions/ideologies in 3 TV news programs and Weltwoche weekly

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Religion in Swiss TV news, 09-11/2009 Visibility and evaluation of Islam: The perspective

Discussion on an Abstract Level

Most of the debates focused on the role of Islam in general and there were only few statements about individual Muslims. Islamic religious organizations and spiritual leaders played no important role. Basis: 408 statements on Islam in 3 TV news programs and Weltwoche weekly

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Religion in Swiss TV news, 09-11/2009 Visibility and evaluation of Islam: The issues

Practically no Areas for Hope

The media discussion focused on the role of Islam concerning its relationship with a secular state. Terrorist acts in Afghanistan and Pakistan hit Swiss news as well. Swiss TV saw virtually no positive aspects, apart from the Middle East Conflict (!). Basis: 408 statements on Islam in 3 TV news programs and Weltwoche weekly

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Religion in Swiss TV news, 09-11/2009 Visibility and evaluation of Islam: The places

Domestic Issues Dominate Reporting in Switzerland

The Minaret Debate has focused debate on the situation of Islam in Switzerland, but for most other regions the negative tone remained strongly dominant. At least for Austria the media sees some improvement after Haider’s demise. Basis: 408 statements on Islam in 3 TV news programs and Weltwoche weekly

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Religion in Swiss TV news, 09-11/2009 Visibility and evaluation of Islam: The sources

No Voice for Swiss Muslims – but for Haider

Quotes play a minor role in the reporting about Muslims in Swiss news; the journalists themselves account for more than ¾ of all the statements about Islam, followed by parliamentarians from the SVP – who avoid bland criticism. Basis: 408 statements on Islam in 3 TV news programs and Weltwoche weekly

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Agenda

  Strategic Media Intelligence   The Study   Religion in the news 07-12/2009   Special: Swiss Minaret Initiative   Conclusions

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Conclusions

Results ●  The overall attitude to religion is negative in Western countries, while the image of Islam is critical throughout the analyzed regions. ●  Violence shapes the Image of Islam – terrorism and war are the dominant aspects. ●  Negative coverage of Islam in Western countries affects all aspects of life – there is nothing positive for Western journalists. ●  Media in Muslim-majority countries focus on the “clash of culture” – references to “the West” and Western countries are far more frequent than references to Christianity. ●  Personalization offers some scope for positive coverage of Christianity in Muslim countries, as is shown by the positive reception of the Pope‘s visit to Jordan.

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Conclusions

Explanations ●  Negativity: Bad news is good news ●  Availability of video footage: Terrorist violence triggers coverage, which in turn generates new violence. This vicious circle makes for an ongoing flow of bad news. ●  Lack of media contacts. Journalists and religious leaders do not interact in a sustainable way. While religious leaders need to come to terms with media society, journalists need to recognize the “added value” of a religious perspective. ●  Lack of personalization: The rules of the media society drive awareness for celebrities. The status of religious leaders is not reflected in their media coverage – with the exception of the Pope. ●  Lack of events: The religious calendar regulates the life of religious communities, but media honors the exceptional. 57


Conclusions

Recommendations ●  Give no room to militants and put their claims and actions into context! E.g. don’t show footage on bomb attacks but give the figures of victims for all parties in the conflict. ●  Give background information! ●  Be sensitive to activities that foster dialogue and understanding! ●  Bring the views of all parties that are involved with the conflict, both in Western and in Muslim countries! ●  Take part in the dialogue with religious leaders! ●  Connect the view of religious leaders to other important issues, like global warming, globalization, trust and justice! ●  Step back from your daily work and let your news selection not be dominated by the newswires and the agitators! 58


Religion in the News