Unveiling news coverage of Muslim women: reporting in the age of terror
Much of the Western media typically portrays Muslim women as, paradoxically, either veiled victims in need of liberation, as threatening non-conformists whose clothing is seen as visual shorthand for 'otherness' or as sexualized, exotic beings. At the same time, Muslim women are noticeable in their absence in the news, rendered voiceless and almost invisible. This status exacerbates the impact of negative stereotyping and the irresponsible, shallow reporting which has characterised the coverage of this culturally diverse group united by a rich faith. Narrow, reactionary and disempowering media representations of Muslim women have significant implications for both the women themselves and the sustainability of Multiculturalism. They also imply a need for a re-examination of journalistic practices, standards and ethics surrounding the coverage (or lack thereof) of Muslim women. This paper will suggest alternative approaches to reporting sensitive issues involving and affecting Muslim women (but applicable to all minorities) for further exploration.
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