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Reaching out in a climate of negativity: The benefits of media engagement

Munnik, Michael ORCID: 2016. Reaching out in a climate of negativity: The benefits of media engagement. Presented at: Muslims in Britain Research Network, Coventry, 5 April 2016.

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Islamophobia dominates discussions about how Muslims in Britain relate to and are represented by the mainstream news media. Although the term itself is contested, scholars and citizens alike have observed an antagonistic discourse concerning Muslims which originates both from journalists and their organisations and from the comments of politicians and other members of civil society. It can be hard, in such a climate, to stick one’s head above the parapets and engage with the news media as a source who identifies as Muslim. In this paper, I examine comments from such sources on the benefits of choosing to do so. My data come from qualitative fieldwork conducted in Glasgow, Scotland from 2012-14, studying relationships between journalists and Muslim sources through a combination of methods, with an emphasis on interviews. In these interviews, sources articulated an overwhelmingly negative conception of journalists and media organisations: for them, either the content of the coverage or the attitude of the reporters and their employers was mired in negativity. In spite of this negativity, these sources were active in media relations, answering requests from journalists and approaching them with story ideas. Scholars note a coercive element to this engagement, as the concept of “media meta-capital” (Couldry 2003) describes how media priorities are imposed on other fields of society, but this is not the only reason. Participants in my study said such work was good for one or several of the following beneficiaries: themselves, their community, the journalist, and society as a whole. I examine each of these in the context of fostering peaceful relations between Muslims and the wider Scottish society in which they live.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 09:59

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