Among other things, it’s usually noticed that some stakeholders conveniently use the media to promote a negative image of ‘Islam and the Muslims.’ This means that the media actually does have the power to tailor public opinion as needed to satisfy the vested interests.
“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” (Malcolm X)
However, the unfriendly attitude of main stream media towards the Muslim population of Canada is thought provoking.
Despite the fact that terrorism has no religion, the fingers are usually pointed towards the Islamic community. The problem is whenever some unfortunate act of terrorism occurs; the religion of ISLAM quickly becomes the “focus.” And most of the time, the media hype turns out to be nonsense. Obviously, the blame goes to the involved media for promoting hatred against the Muslims.
In the past, besides name calling, the labels like Islamic terrorism and Islamic bomb have led to cause the sickening condition of “Islamophobia” among the non Muslim communities. Maybe, the anti-Islam propagandists have temporarily succeeded in isolating the targeted Muslim community, but the truth can’t be buried so easily.
Furthermore, the substandard opinion articles or breaking news involving the Muslims do attract a large number of derogatory remarks from the racists under the “comment sections” of popular newspapers of Canada. The (anti Muslim) abnormal behaviour irritates the community.
Consequently, the painful sentimental gap between the peaceful Canadian Muslims and the other Canadians keeps widening.
Despite all this, the media has certain principles of ethics to follow in order to remain competitive in the market through maintaining credibility. In fact, a successful journalism has to be conscientious because presenting the distorted facts is a complete “no.” Most importantly, competition among the media businesses is in a desperate need of giving the truthful information by being objective and balanced in reporting.
As the Muslims are legally entitled to proceed in an organised manner to protect their faith, the Muslim media too is equally entitled to publish literature to give the true picture to the general public.
Certainly, biased journalism does nothing but poison the raw minds against Muslims. Unfortunately in some cases, the non Muslim media appears to be anti Muslim when giving misjudgment without in-depth knowledge about the practicality of Islam. An inadequate presence of Muslim media adds to fuel further desperation for the Muslims. Because, the presence of mischievous elements in the media threatens the formation of logical public opinion.
And, some insufficiently qualified media individuals pose a threat when representing the Muslims for a number of reasons - including ignorance, discrimination, poor knowledge of Islam, or their total inability of interpreting Islamic teachings in the proper context.
Whether it is radio, television, newspaper or internet, the media has the capacity of connecting and bridging communities.
Beyond doubt, internet is gold mine of accessibility enriching the minds positively or fueling negatively – all depending on what you really look for through face book, twitter, blogs, emails, and the list goes on and on. Bottom line is Muslim media should strive harder and harder to achieve the goal of nation building based on truth but avoiding the evil input.
On the contrary, when the media is biased and focused only on commercialization, it becomes irritating for intelligent audience. Ironically, most of the people become addicted to watching TV without realizing that time is money which they are wasting unnecessarily. The worried Muslims are really concerned about their obligation towards the society they live in. This would let the deprived people move forward to live among non Muslims with equality.
Several communities of different ethnicities have their own media to safeguard their interests. Similarly, the Muslims are looking for a decent way out of the ongoing frustrating situation. They are becoming active more than ever and getting closer to helping the main stream media.
Fortunately, the Muslim media of today has genuine encouragement to become more and more assertive with an improved degree of confidence. In other words they are more involved and getting closer to be competitive even in the commercially focused media market.
Better late than never, the Muslims are comfortable to troubleshoot the negative status quo through their own electronic and print media. They are catching up gradually and hopefully would be able to free the Canadian audience of Islamophobia.
In addition to the print media, a daily Muslim presence in the broadcast media and the internet would correct the anti Islam feelings among the non Muslim Canadians. Once Muslim media is in full force on daily basis, the Muslim youth would definitely be encouraged to benefit, preserve and strengthen their Islamic identity.
Thankfully, several media people of integrity understand the essence of journalism. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) publishes “Islamic Horizons,” Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) publishes “The Message” and there are many other publications by different mosques. Also, there are Monthly, Bi Weekly or Weekly News Papers and several other publications by Muslim Students' Associations.
Since, the mainstream media has been unable to address the issues of different communities equally; therefore, a daily basis English Medium Muslim TV, radio including all other publications would only enable all communities to understand what Islam really is!
The Muslim community of Canada is fully entitled to enjoy equality & justice when it comes to their unattended or mishandled issues.
On the other hand, the Canadian non-Muslim community deserves to find out more to re-establish their view point of the great religion of Islam.
Removal of liars from the main stream media will encourage establishing a true level playing field.
Muslim media with integrity & full Islamic knowledge is better positioned to publish/broadcast for the benefit of all Canadians. Nevertheless, presenting true image of Islam as a religion of peace, tolerance and justice remains a challenge for Muslim media indeed.
Last of all, utilizing Muslim friendly apparatus, pro-Islamic media advocates may go ahead with repairing the tarnished image of Islam. Regularly airing of the constructive interfaith dialogues can be further fruitful.