MUSLIM MEDIA - MUSLIMS IN THE MEDIA
14th and 15th September 2009
Pilot Research Report
"Muslims in the European ‚Mediascape‘"
The pilot research project ‘Muslims in the European Mediascape: integration and social cohesion dynamics’ is now available online (download). The report, led by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank, with the support of the Vodafone Foundation Germany, identified a number of trends related to the perceptions and consumption of mainstream and minority media by Muslim audiences and the implications for long-term social cohesion in Germany, France and the UK.
In September 2009, the fifth M100 Sanssouci Colloquium was held with leading editors, journalists, commentators, publicists and public figures in Potsdam. During the past two years, the rationale for the Colloquium has been to serve as a bridge between European media and media professionals from other parts of the world, fostering cooperation, understanding and collaborative work. This year, the guiding principle of bridge building continued with an emphasis on developing stronger linkages between European mainstream media and Muslim media from within Europe, the Middle East and the wider Muslim world.
In an increasingly media driven world, where news and information are instantly accessible, how the media report and portray the most critical issues of the day has an ever growing impact on both international and domestic public perceptions. As Europe’s cultural diversity continues to grow, these perceptions can significantly impact social cohesion and inter-communal peace. European mainstream media have at times been criticised for their narratives and language when reporting on minority (especially Muslim) affairs and have been accused of seeking limited viewpoints and rarely representing a diversity of voices from within these communities.
Alongside the impact of mainstream media reporting, evidence of a growing minority media presence in Europe and the degree to which minority media are affecting societal cohesion and integration processes were discussed. Participants addressed the alleged emergence of parallel or even segregated ‘information societies’ as a result of specific communities depending on minority and foreign media as their main, (or even sole) sources of information, resulting in these communities accessing different information from other domestic audiences.
Understanding and addressing this information divide was crucial for this year’s M100 Colloquium. The conference discussions and the ISD pilot research report aimed to explore how media, policy makers and civil society could ensure that public opinion influenced by these various sources does not further elevate tensions, suspicions and fears.
It is hoped that by increasing dialogue, providing insights and disposing of stereotypes through strengthening the links between foreign, minority and mainstream media, more accurate representations can be fostered and cultural commonalities highlighted.
As part of an annual series of events – Medienwoche Berlin-Brandenburg – the Colloquium is co-organised by the state capital of Potsdam, Potsdam Media International e.V. and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. This year, the Colloquium featured a significant contribution from CEDAR, the first European Network of Muslim Professionals, and its Media and Communications working group. The conference was supported by the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Robert Bosch Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation Germany.