Here is a piece that appeared in the Guardian Media today about the GLA report. If you want to view the article in its original form, click here.
A “torrent” of negative stories has been revealed by a study of the portrayal of Muslims and Islam in the media, according to a report published yesterday.
Research into one week’s news coverage showed that 91% of articles in national newspapers about Muslims were negative. The London mayor, Ken Livingstone, who commissioned the study, said the findings were a “damning indictment” of the media and urged editors and programme makers to review the way they portray Muslims.
“The overall picture presented by the media is that Islam is profoundly different from and a threat to the west,” he said. “There is a scale of imbalance which no fair-minded person would think is right.” Only 4% of the 352 articles studied were positive, he said.
Livingstone said the findings showed a “hostile and scaremongering attitude” towards Islam and likened the coverage to the way the left was attacked by national newspapers in the early 1980s. “The charge is that there are virtually no positive or balanced images of Islam being portrayed,” he said. “I think there is a demonisation of Islam going on which damages community relations and creates alarm among Muslims.”
Among examples in the study was a report which claimed that Christmas was being banned in one area because it offended Muslims, which researchers said was “inaccurate and alarmist”. The report said that Muslims in Britain were sometimes depicted as a threat to traditional British values, and the coverage weakened government attempts to reduce extremism. The report is an amalgam of research projects individually prepared by members of a panel. Some research, examining published newspaper articles and reporting the experiences of Muslim journalists, involved Hugh Muir, of the Guardian.