Study identifies a low point in the media image of islam – and warns of the consequences
For at least two decades, during which events such as sebnitz and hoyerswerda have also been analyzed, media research has provided data on the interplay between media coverage and audience reactions. In a recent study by the media tenor research institute (rapperswil), the focus is on islam. Islam and muslims are the only social category whose reputation is worse than that of bankers, politicians and journalists.
It is not enough that the general public is blatantly ignorant about islam: lack of language skills and political templates seem to blind us to indigenous islamic roots, and cliches prevail. In the year of conflict 2014, however, terror, wars and international conflicts dominated reporting in german media – and thus our "knowledge" – the main message about islam is that it is a. The islamic state (is) catapulted the media image of islam to a catastrophic state, according to dr. Christian kolmer, head of politics at media tenor.
In the context of other religious actors, this is particularly noticeable. According to the data, the catholic church basks in the pleasure of the "pope-high", which is due to the supporting role of francis. Protestants do not necessarily come off badly in terms of a negative image – instead they are conspicuous by their absence: as the study shows, protestant church representatives play no role in the german media and are therefore unknown to the public. The presence of the catholic superiors is ten times higher than that of the protestant tops.
The study from rapperswil looks at almost 266.000 reports about religious actors within one year from 19 german tv, radio and print media. But even a look at the bigger picture reveals a precarious picture as far as islam is concerned and confirms the prevalence of stereotypes: when muslims or islam are portrayed, with a record 80 percent of negative coverage among international opinion leaders. Moreover, according to media tenor, the willingness to engage in dialogue between cultures is already being damaged, especially as a result of the increased reporting on migrants.
For the latter study, the institute analyzed some 500.000 reports on the above-mentioned actors from 20 international tv reports, including 8.359 uber muslim protagonists. The period of the investigation was practically the whole year 2014. "How the image of islam is to recover from this absolute low and in what timeframe this is possible must fill all forces of integration with grave concern", kolmer comments on the results of the current analyses.