Counter-terrorism: Are we suffering from shallow, simplistic journalism?

Journalists Cecily Huang and Caitlin Gibson go behind the headlines, and speak to one of Australia’s young Muslims, Mohammed Junaid Thorne, experienced journalist, Professor Peter Manning, who specialised in Muslim culture, scholar of Islamic studies, and Shakira Hussein, to check the mistreatment by Australian media on Muslim issues.

It begs the question, “is the media shaping public opinion?”

Their report is a step in the right direction towards the public’s right to sound information and respect for the truth. Good work Cecily and Caitlain!

Their report also encouraged me to look further into media coverage of the Islamic State, which Australia’s Prime Minister Abbott simplistically calls “the Cult of Death.” But he does it with committed intention! So, why is he and other political leaders not called to account by journalists working in mainstream media?

A small sample of links demonstrate the complex social, political and economic events happening in the Middle-East; and beginning to affect Australian society.

Yet, why do most mainstream media tabloids, and radio and TV current affairs programs in Australia, and regrettably ‘journalists’ employed by them, run such seemingly simplistic, uncorroborated, biased and possibly propagandist coverage on what is happening?

In doing so, I believe they feed division, disharmony, fear, unfairness, ill-will and denial of shared prosperity. How is this “honest” and “fair”, as required by the MEAA Code of Ethics? How does this “respect the right for others”? In fact, are media organisation editorial managers falsifying Australian society as it really is? If so, and these editorial managers are members of the MEAA, I believe they are breaching the MEAA Code of Ethics.

If they are not members of the MEAA, and what they are doing is in fact a breach of the MEAA Code of Ethics, do they warrant the title “Journalist” – a privileged role in Australian society?

These are the links I reviewed:

Can we discuss Islamist terrorism without demonising everyday Muslims?

Reportage Online: Blow Up: Double Standards for Islam – Cecily Huang and Caitlin Gibson

Muslim communities key to tackling rise of Islamic extremism?

60 Minutes 21 September 2014

The Islamic State – Vice News

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Complete Lecture :: Sheikh Imran Hosein 2014

Islamic Eschatology 2014 By Sheikh Imran Hosein

This also raises the relationship of media organisations with political power, particularly when people are oppressed, and they are calling out against the pain of their oppression.

Fearful people do nothing for the oppressed against injustice. Complacent people do nothing! Good people often do nothing against injustice. Only committed ethical journalists, and social advocates with inner strength and commitment stand in the breach for the oppressed against injustice!

About Bob Simpson

Bob is project manager of The Australian Media Engagement Project (AMEP). He believes that ethical and independent journalists are vital to the continuing freedom of Australian citizens. You could argue that In recent decades media organisations have subtly subverted journalism to their own private commercial interests, and away from an integrated sense of fairness, well being and shared prosperity in Australian society, especially for the disempowered. AMEP aims to change general media narratives towards greater fairness, well being and shared prosperity in Australia.
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