Monday, February 18, 2013

Role of Muslim Media in Canada

 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.
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 “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.

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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.


Crystal said...

I often find myself listening to those radio stations, where they talk about the Muslim Community and the Islamic Religion. The thing that I can't seem to wrap my mind around is that I can change from a station that emphasizes the facts, and the reality that most Muslim's are facing and the truth behind their religion to a station where you have someone clearly trying to force his or her own negative views on to the public. The public is naturally curious about the Islamic Religion and culture. How do they worship? Do they condone violence? Are they victims? Are they Christians? And so on... but people have a tendency to take things far too much at face value and that's what these biased media groups want. They want the public to take their word for it and in other words, jump on board with the racial bandwagon. I pity those that don't take the time to fully educate themselves, people who rely so heavily on what the media has to say. The second thing that bothers me and while this may not have anything to do with Muslims or the Islamic faith, is that the media tends to focus on one thing. Terrorism, hate, violence, extremist, when we clearly have far more pressing matters to concern ourselves, for instance, here in America.. we have kids on the streets who grow up in and around gangs. They are subjected to this kind of behavior 24/7 and are in constant danger of being murdered or killing someone. Yet, you hardly hear about the reality that those kids are facing. Hatred towards Muslim's takes priority. Ignorance takes priority. That to me is plain scary, because so many people are so eager to scream out, "Terrorists!" What about those kids? Right here in our own countries? Instead, people chalk it up to misguidance, circumstance, survival, and troubled youth.. yet, they're so quick to spat their hateful comments and uneducated opinions about these so called terrorist when in fact, there are certainly some similarities between the two.. For instance, those that follow these terrorist leaders and the ones who support the extremist, and rebels. Yet no one has ever stopped and thought about it, "Hmm, I wonder if some of those people are too in fact brainwashed, misguided, troubled or are they simply trying to survive. While trying to survive is no excuse for acts of terrorism, I have to wonder who's going to step up to the plate and try to help these individuals. It may not be the reason for every act of violence or act of terrorism, but for those that are, who's going to reach out and help them? Certainly not the media, because they are too wrapped up in what sells as opposed to what matters. That's our youth, and that scares me. I only hope and pray that in time, the media will start to use it's so called power to raise humanity instead of hatred and ignorance, but then again, the media would be powerless without their audience, so maybe the answer lies within the people's hands, if only we could take that power away, and I believe we can. I'd like to see others get on board as well. Stop letting the media control our minds and start showing our spines. We are not sheep..

TariqMian said...

Crystal, your highly enlightening comment is very very close to the reality. In my opinion, you must be a part of American think-tank in order to rectify the social ills affecting the teens there.
The media must work to uplift the drowning values of humanity rather than bickering about non issue matters.
There is a need of prioratising the sequencing to tackle economic ailments where no one else is ever made vulnerable.
In most cases, media needs to have its alignment fixed because it goes way off balance and ends up misreporting in the hot pursuit of their commercial adventures.
All human beings are equal, so they should be equally respected.

narazia said...

Media is a tool for the rich (the powerful elite), while the
poor and the oppressed are just the tools to be used in favour of the powerful elite.
How can you win?

leo said...

Great post. Muslims should show that Islam is a religion of Peace, tolrance and justice, through dialogue, printed material like magazine, news letters etc. and elctromic media like peace tv. It should be bring in the knowledge of our youth and other religion. Muslims should save themselves and their religion to servive where they are in minority.

TariqMian said...

Leo, thanks for taking a glance at the posted article.
I do appreciate your time for writing the encouraging/meaningful comment.

TariqMian said...

@ Nazaria,
your remarks are brief but to the point. Thank you!

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ashley said...

i agree with this piece very much, recently i have been hearing alot about the benghazi attacks and libya and islamic extremism and terrorism and it's ridiculous because the thing about it is that it does not overtly say that muslims are terrorists and that islamic is a terrorist religion -- it rather consistently mentions news about the middle east, somalia, libya, turkey, and extremism associated with these countries. it's a wonder why many people have not came to question the news they are hearing -- the same content repeated over and over.

ameazh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ameazh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ameazh said...

i agree with ashley

ameazh said...

i agree with ashley

Iqra said...

This is going to continue until we have Muslim Americans and Canadians joining the ranks of the media makers in non-Muslim capacities as well as Muslim ones. Because then they will become credible in the art of making media and can slowly contribute to the content of media as well, shining light on positive Muslim issues and understanding. As an ex-journalist and future screenwriter, I believe that gaining the skills to tell our stories is crucial.
Good job, Tariq!

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