Canada’s news media are contributing to mistrust of Muslims: Siddiqui

Haroon Siddiqui’s guide for the media (I would add test these by substituting ‘Christian,’ ‘Sikh,’ ‘Jewish’ or other religions to check for consistency) :

The credibility of media with Muslims is very low. Muslims generally don’t trust us. In fact, they’re outright afraid of us. They don’t think they would get a fair shake from us. They are petrified that their words would be twisted and distorted.

Let me offer some suggestions.

  • It would be helpful for newsrooms, or the media industry as a whole, to articulate some ethical guidelines on coverage of and commentary on Muslims.
  • Develop a manual to clarify what do the following words mean and whom do they apply to – “moderate Muslims,” ‘anti-modern Muslims,” “fundamentalist Muslims,” “militant Muslims,” and “Islamist Muslims.” Who, exactly, are “radical Muslims” – those who believe in violence, or something else? Who are anti-modern Muslims – the Muslims who don’t drive cars, don’t use iPhones, don’t Tweet, don’t build or visit museums, or refuse blood transfusions?
  • Subject opinion pieces and commentaries to the simple test of truth. Give us a range of views, not just those that might just confirm your own prejudices. The CBC commentator Rex Murphy has advanced questionable propositions about Muslims. He is free to express his views, of course. But where’s the counter-opinion on the taxpayer-supported CBC?
  • Don’t find excuses to attribute crimes by Muslims to their religion. Use the same standard for them as for other people.
  • Avoid double standards on free speech. It seems that we must have free speech to malign Muslims but Muslims must not claim the right to be free from hate speech, which is also a very Canadian value.
  • Resist generic photos of niqab-wearing women when the story has little or nothing to do with niqab. You create the impression that most Muslim women wear it, whereas the number who do is a tiny, tiny minority – in Canada, no more than a few dozen. Don’t distort that reality.

I describe myself as an “incurably optimistic Canadian.” So I think if any nation can debate this issue, within the framework of free speech and fair play, it is Canada. If we get this right, we might even export it to the United States and Europe.

We owe it to Canada to at least try.

Source: Canada’s news media are contributing to mistrust of Muslims | Toronto Star

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: