Media Images of Islamophobia on Cable News Network (CNN) and Implications for International Relations

Media Images of Islamophobia on Cable News Network (CNN) and Implications for International Relations

Jeffrey Kurebwa (Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe) and Prosper Muchakabarwa (Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJCWT.2019010103

Abstract

This study focuses on media images of islamophobia as portrayed by Cable News Network (CNN) and its implications for international relations. The study employed qualitative methodology. Data was collected using key informant interviews, while documentary search was done using CNN current affairs videos. The study findings indicated that the media has the power to influence human perceptions towards stereotyping Islam as a terrorist organisation and conflating the Islamic religion and the Muslim culture with terrorism. The study also found out that islamophobia really has a relationship with how Muslims are represented in the media. The study recommends that media houses should have media ethics, laws and policies which force journalists to be more accountable and objective when reporting issues of religion, race and culture as a way of eliminating offensive communication and religious intolerance.
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2. Background

The Fifth Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Observatory (2012, p. 3) noted that the Western media, including the social media, continued to play a key role in promoting and disseminating an anti-Muslim culture. Lack of objectivity and biased reporting combined with continuous focus on the issue of ‘Islamic extremism’ steadily consolidated negative stereotyping of Muslims. Anti-immigrant pressure groups, political and media commentators, and hardline Christian- Zionist religious leaders regularly use the media to employ hate speech aimed at Islamic religion and Muslims in general (Sayyid and Vakil, 2008). The result has been the growth of islamophobia, a widespread suspicion of mainstream Muslims and discrimination against Muslims based on their race or religion. This has led to hate speeches, crimes and other acts of violence. The American-led Global War on Terrorism endorsed in 2001 by former United States of America (USA) president George W. Bush led to an increase in islamophobia across the globe in the name of fighting terrorism. Islamophobia has been greatly connected to the international politics and specifically to the rising fear of terrorism, which some pro-western media outlets have linked to the Islamic religion. The USA witnessed an unprecedented rise in islamophobia since 2001 with Muslims falling victim to shootings, personal assaults, harassment, protests, airport searches and attacks on mosques. According to Kira, Lewandowski, Templin, Ramaswamy, Ozkan, and Mohanesh (2010) since the 9/11 attacks, increased racial and religious hatred and animosity has left Arabs, Middle Easterners, Muslims and those who bear stereotyped physical resemblance to these groups fearful of potential hatred and hostility from persons of other cultures.

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