Media is a powerful tool of communication that has a great impact in changing the perceptions of the people worldwide. Since the media has earned credibility over time, the current society relies heavily on its information. Hague admits that, “the world has witnessed the powerful tool of the global media; it has been one of the major sources that questioned and defined cultures, social and political movements and has enabled the world to break through the barriers of differences” (2006, p. 1).
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Despite breaking international barriers of differences, the global media has received severe criticism due to its biasness in reflecting dominant political and religious issues of the western world. Although the media has the ability to objectively shape the society, it has failed to reflect the Islamic religion objectively.
The media has demonized and portrayed the Islam as a religion of violence and terror in the society. The stereotyping of the Islamic religion as a religion of violence and terror in the whole world is due to the misrepresentation by the media.
Following September 11, 2001 attack on the Americans by the terrorists, the media has constantly attributed it to the Islamic religion and “it is now clear to the world citizens that the western media has launch a concerted campaign against Islam in the name of a campaign against terror” (Haque, 2006, p. 5).
The western media has influenced the world media in depicting Muslims and their religion as potential terrorists. According to Haque, “a major factor which contributes to Islamic stereotyping in the West is due to media’s selection of their words that describe Muslims. Some common names heard or seen in the news about Muslims are “extremist” or “terrorist” (2006, p. 7). The use of such negative words to describe Muslims has led to the worldwide perception that Muslims and terrorists are one.
Salient issues affecting the citizens are reported first by the media hence the media is very reliable in first hand and credible information. McLuhan argues that, “medium is the message that has great influence on the readers and audiences” (1964, p. 301).
Given the biasness of the media in depiction of Muslims as terrorist, it results into great negative influence on the minds of the citizens since any information from the media seems credible to the citizens. ”the media has virtually turned the world into a global village of communication and is more pervasive than ever before” (Haque, 2006, p. 4). The misrepresentation of the Muslim relgion by the media has far-reaching effects on the perception of the citizens.
In the political arena, the media provides a fighting ground for powerful political figures in the course of addressing issues of the government. According to Harris, “the media do not necessarily tell us what to think, but rather what to think about” (2004, p. 35). The depiction of salient issues such as terrorism in relation to the Muslims triggers and set the political agenda that is based on the “credible” information of the media.
Since the government issues are addressed politically and politicians like the media have biasness in portraying the true religion of Muslims, then, what results is collective distortion of the Muslims and their religion. Haque argues that, “the media has been the singular most powerful tool of influence, mobilization and shaping of political, religious, economic and cultural agendas and discourse” (2006, p. 20). In terms of religious matters, media has successfully stereotyped the conception of Muslims as potential terrorists.
Haque, F. (2006). Global Media, Islamophobia and Its Impact on Conflict Resolution. Islam and Media Journal. Retrieved from http://www.ihmsaw.org/resourcefiles/1260034024.pdf
Harris, R. (2004). A cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication. New York, NY: Routledge.
McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding the Media. New York, NY: Routledge.