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  1. #81
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    Australia - Islam in the Media 2017


    By The Numbers

    These are the results of a year-long investigation into Australia’s media coverage of Islam and Muslims.

    For the entire year of 2017, OnePath Network tracked how 5 of Australia’s biggest newspapers reported on Islam. We wanted to see exactly how the media portrayed the 2.6% of the Australian population that identify as Muslim, and whether or not journalists and columnists were fair in their coverage. This is what we found.

    Whilst it isn’t exactly news that newspapers like the Daily Telegraph and The Australian talk about Islam a lot, what is really shocking is just how much they do it. We focused on 5 newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s company News Ltd., namely the Australian, the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, the Courier Mail and the Advertiser. In these 5 newspapers alone, we found almost 3000 articles that referred to Islam or Muslims alongside words like violence, extremism, terrorism or radical.

    That’s over 8 articles a day in the Murdoch press-slamming Muslims. If all of those were put together, that would be a full double-page spread. Every single day.

    We also found 152 front pages over the year that featured Islam in some negative capacity. A lot of the time, these articles and exclusives were the featured item, the most important story for selling the newspaper.

    When we looked more closely, we saw that certain names came up time and time again, as they have been for almost 2 decades. We looked into 6 of the most controversial commentators in the Australian news media, including figures like Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine and Janet Albrechtsen. On average, 31% of their opinion pieces were devoted to Islam, with the overwhelming majority of them being negative and divisive in nature. For Jennifer Oriel, that number was 54%. Even though they are stated to be “opinion” pieces, they are often written as fact and encourage.


    more at link below.


    Whilst a general overview clearly shows just how disproportionate the negative coverage of Islam is, it’s only when you zoom in and see the actual issues that the obsessive and unnecessary nature of the coverage becomes clear. And it wasn’t just about terrorism. Many of the most absurd and overblown examples of coverage come from issues that the Murdoch media highlighted by themselves, dragging the rest of Australia into their worldview. Here’s a couple of ridiculous highlights from a year of crazy coverage.


    Media coverage of Islam does not exist in a vacuum of facts and objectivity. The reality is, print news is a struggling industry, and a very effective method for selling newspapers is fear, sensation, and drama. The more that these methods are normalised, the more they will be used against anybody who the media paints as the next ‘enemy’ of ‘Australian values’. As Charles Morton from Victoria Police Media put it, “At the end of the day, they want to shift newspapers” (Ewart 2016).

    This is not just an issue of bias or exaggeration in individual reports. As we found in our research, the overwhelming scale of association between Islam and terror, extremism, violence, and oppression through phrasing and word choice is far more significant than any isolated events or reports. If 2891 articles include the phrase “Islamic terrorism” or “Muslim oppression”, those ideas stick.

    This is coupled with stereotypical pictures and images on front-pages and feature stories that are prominently shown in order to sell more papers. These images have been shown to significantly shape the way Islam and Muslims are framed in the public eye (Ewart 2017). In fact there have been a high number of incidents in which images have had to be withdrawn and apologies made for incorrect associations with events. Many newspapers seem to have a policy of “show the face, apologise later.” This kind of approach not only affects public perceptions, it has serious ramifications on the individuals that these papers choose to ‘name and shame’, whether correctly or not.

    However, what is said and shown is only one aspect of the equation. As Thomas Huckin points out, “what is not said and/or written is equally powerful because of the ideological role it plays” (Patil 2016). It is simply naive to think that journalists don’t have a choice in what they choose to talk about, and that those choices don’t have consequences on the public’s perception.



    In 2016, an Essential Report found that 49% of Australians supported a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia. Another poll by the Australian National University found that 71% of Australians were concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism locally. In the same year however, researchers at Griffith University found that 70% of Australians believed that they themselves knew “little to nothing about the religion and its adherents” (O’Donnell 2017), despite the disproportionate coverage of Islam and Muslims in the media shown above.

    It takes a special kind of fear mongering and sensationalism to convince the majority of a nation to ban a community they themselves recognise they know almost nothing about. It is simply naive to ignore the serious role the media plays in making Muslims seem ‘different’ to the rest of Australian society. As Anne Aly, an academic and MP for Cowan, put it:“In the popular Australian media… Muslims have been characterized as non-members of the Australian community – relegating them to the space of the ‘other’, alien, foreign and incompatible with Australian cultural values.” (Aly 2007)

    In 2016, 2,886 Australians died in relation to suicide, whilst 0 people died from a terrorist attack on Australian soil. Yet in the 2017 budget, the federal government allocated $7.2 million to the ANZ Counter-Terrorism Committee, and only $2.1 million to suicide prevention and awareness. That is not to take away from the work that our police and intelligence agencies do to keep us safe. But it’s essential that we remember that our beliefs as a society do not just affect how we view or treat the individuals around us. They shape government policy, institutional agendas and cultural norms. And those things have a far greater power to harm a community that is already struggling to find its place in Australian society.

    In 2017, the Islamophobia Register Australia published the report Islamophobia in Australia: 2014-2016, which found “an observable coincidence between spikes of vilification reported to the Islamophobia Register and terror attacks, anti-terror legislation and negative media coverage of high profile Muslim leaders” (Iner 2017), such as the with the case of the Grand Mufti. It also showed that the majority of Islamophobic insults were not related to terrorism, meaning that simply the existence and visibility of Muslims and Islam is now the main motivation behind these hate attacks.

    Aly also noted that “attempts by Muslims to articulate their views and opinions in the popular media often draw opposition from the public about accommodating the needs of Muslims” (Aly 2007). This can clearly be seen in the case of Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s infamous Q&A appearance and ANZAC day post, or in the debates surrounding Halal food.In other words, whether Muslims stay silent and take the heat, or ‘play the game’ and push back, the result is the same: public animosity and resentment of Islam in Australia.


    If 2017 taught us anything, it’s that we have a serious lack of faith in journalism, and for good reason. A Pew Poll in January 2018 found that whilst people around the world “overwhelmingly agree that the news media should be unbiased… many [say] their media do not deliver.” We are grappling with the critical question of what ethical journalism really is, and so far we haven’t found the answer. All we do know is that our current approach is not working.

    There are certain actions we can all take that will benefit our situation. Building relationships between communities is one of the most effective ways to ensure that we do the right thing by each other. For journalists and media outlets, that means any coverage that alienates or dehumanises a community is simply bad reporting, and needs to be avoided. Strong relationships at an individual and organisational level allow legitimate voices to be heard, and legitimate issues to be addressed.

    For everyone else, that means better understanding where and how we get our news. If we know the difference between a trustworthy story and an untrustworthy story, the financial and political incentive for fake news drastically decreases. When we hold the media to a higher standard, they will have no choice but to meet it.


  2. #82
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    Jan 2007


    The Sun pays fines for falsely accusing Muslim couple in "Trojan Horse" plot

    The Sun pays out 'substantial damages' after wrongly claiming couple part of Islamic 'Trojan Horse' plot to take over primary school

    The Sun has paid “substantial damages” to a Muslim couple whom it wrongly alleged were involved in a “Trojan Horse” plot to take over a primary school and enforce a “separatist agenda”.

    The paper has apologised to Nasim Ashraf and his wife Hafizan Zaman ovre articles published in 20 February last year, including a column by former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie.

    False allegations included that the married couple were involved in a violent plot to take over Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham and that Zaman had “told staff to wear the [Islamic] veil”.

    The Sun said: “We now recognise these allegations are unfounded, and they were not involved in any alleged Trojan Horse plot.

    We apologise to Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman for the distress caused. We have agreed to pay substantial damages and their legal costs.”

    The allegations were said to be supported by a leaked report from Oldham Council.

    But, lawyers for the pair said Ashraf was “described by a headteacher at another school as a model parent” and that the council has said he was “an individual who is very active within the faith communities of Oldham”.

    Contrary to the allegations made by The Sun, the report confirmed that he is not an “extremist”
    said a spokesperson for Rahman Lowe Solicitors, who represented the couple.

    Ashraf said: “Hafizan and I are pleased that the Sun has agreed to set the record straight by apologising and making clear that the allegations reported in the articles are untrue and wholly without foundation.

    “The agreement to pay substantial damages and legal costs reflects the gravity of the allegations that were made against us.

    “We are living in times where anti-Muslim hate and discrimination are increasing day by day and the Muslim community is constantly on the receiving end of false allegations.

    “Unfortunately, the media has played a role in this which in turn only serves the interests of the far right, neo conservatives and those that wish to create division, rather than mutual respect and unity within our diverse communities in the UK.”

    It is understood Ashraf and Zaman are also pursuing a legal claim against The Times. Last week, Press Gazette reported that the Telegraph had also apologised and paid damages over similar claims.

    The Sun’s apology in full:

    Articles on 20 February 2017 suggested Nasim Ashraf and Hafizan Zaman were involved in an alleged ‘Trojan horse’ plot to take over Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham.

    We said this involved violence and threats, that Mr Ashraf held Islamic teaching sessions, and Mrs Zaman told staff to wear the veil.

    We now recognise these allegations are unfounded, and they were not involved in any alleged Trojan Horse plot.

    We apologise to Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman for the distress caused. We have agreed to pay substantial damages and their legal costs.



    This is how you get islamophobe bigots and haters in line, hurt them where it hurts (finanically).

  3. #83
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    Jan 2007


    Fake news: 'Mass sexual assault' by refugees at New Year in Germany

    Fears over the influx of migrants and refugees into Europe has led to the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment in Germany

    by Alex MacDonald - 15 February 2017

    The UK's Daily Express had the story on its platforms until shortly after the Bild apology (screengrab)

    Reports of a mass sexual assault by refugees in Frankfurt on New Years Eve were fabricated according to German police.

    The right-wing newspaper Bild reported last week that 900 drunk refugees had been involved in the mass sex attack and quoted a number of witnesses and victims' testimony.

    "I can be happy that I wore sheer tights. They [the migrants] grabbed me under the skirt, between my legs, my breasts, everywhere," one alleged victim, Irina, was quoted as saying.

    Another witness, a local pub owner, said that his pub had been "full with a group of around 50 Arabs."

    "They did not speak German, drank our guests' drink and danced towards them. The women asked me for help because they were being attacked. The mood changed completely."

    The quotes were also used in the right-wing British tabloid Daily Express.

    Police dismiss story

    However, on Wednesday German police said that the accusations were "without foundation" and that they were investigating those who had made the alleged comments.

    "The interrogations of the witnesses, guests, and staff have created considerable doubts about the portrayal of events," the police told the press.

    "A person allegedly affected by the actions was not in the city at all when the crime occurred."

    Following this, Bild removed the story from their website and their online editor-in-chief apologised for running it.

    However, the Daily Express still carried the story online at the time of this article's publication. It was eventually replaced with a version that mentioned the Bild apology.

    Rise of anti-refugee sentiment

    Fears over the influx of migrants and refugees into Europe has led to the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment in Germany and seen a rise in poll numbers for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

    However, the AfD's popularity took a knock after comments by the party's Thuringia state chairman in which he referred to the Berlin Holocaust Memorial as a "monument of shame", leading to his expulsion

    The party, which was originally founded in 2013 on an anti-euro platform, shifted geared to rail against immigrants after 2015's mass influx of refugees from Syria.

    It is setting its sights on winning its first seats in national parliament in general elections on 24 September.


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