In Brisbane today, I participated in Griffith University’s ‘Reporting Islam: best media practices’ Roundtable, with various project stakeholders and team members. This project aims to create a learning model by way of an app, booklet and teaching resources. RI’s core objective is to ensure fair and accurate reportage about Islam and Muslim issues in Australia for journalists.
Over the next year, this project is expected to execute delivery of these learning resources, overseen by an expert panel of Muslim community and media industry representatives.
There is no doubt that misreporting and misrepresentation of Islam and Muslims continues to plague newsfeeds. While there are journalists who do attempt to present accurate and balanced stories, there are more who lack adequate knowledge about these issues. In effect the impact of negative reporting on these communities has a proven correlation with the way in which the broader community regards and relates to them. And to this end, the culpability for shoddy journalism falls squarely with reporters, and moreover, their editors. Getting these professionals to avail themselves to a
media guide that seeks to ameliorates much misinformation will be a significant task.
Ultimately though, the efficacy of this project will tie in with the political discourse of a government who bears the responsibility for problematising Australian Muslims as if their place in this country demands frequent explanation.
Until this discourse can be rectified and proven to be balanced across ministerial portfolios, the media cannot alone be blamed for Islamaphobia and the damage this wreaks on our social cohesion.