19 July 2012

Report - Race and Reform: Islam and Muslims in the British Media


Earlier this year, I and my colleagues at Unitas Communications – where I’m currently Chief Research Officer – decided to address the issue of British media coverage of Islam and Muslims for the ongoing Leveson Inquiry appointed last year by Prime Minister David Cameron. 

We agreed with the letter to The Guardian signed by over 50 public figures – including people like Bianca Jagger and Jemima Khan – which criticised the Inquiry for focusing largely on high-profile cases of phone hacking affecting celebrities, but very little on broader issues within the Inquiry’s terms of reference on less high-profile cases. However, while that letter called for an "alternative inquiry" - which, however, would ultimately have little in the way of teeth that might actually influence the process of media reform directly, we felt it important that pressure be brought to bear on the Leveson Inquiry to fulfil the terms of reference of its investigations as much as possible.

So we decided to leverage our networks in the relevant media and political sectors, and to do some solid research of our own, to produce a comprehensive report on this issue for submission to the Leveson Inquiry.

In the end, we interviewed a total of 16 media professionals – including journalists and editors across the main print and broadcasting institutions in the UK – as well as scholars, and community leaders. We also examined the key literature on the subject going back as far back as the 1990s.

We eventually completed the report, titled Race and Reform: Islam and Muslims in the British Media, earlier this month – which you can download here. The report was formally submitted to the Inquiry on the 9th of July. Since then, I have published some articles about it which summarise our main findings and recommendations, in Huffington Post (focuses on elaborating the key facts), Le Monde diplomatique (focuses on our key recommendations), and Public Service Europe (a more general summary). 

UPDATE (20.7.2012, 14.57PM GMT) 

The Independent has this morning published another piece by me about the report, 'A New Age of Racism? Why Leveson must investigate anti-Muslim bigotry'.

UPDATE (20.7.2012, 16.48PM GMT)

The London School of Economics (LSE) British Politics and Policy Blog run by the LSE Public Policy Group has just nominated my Huffington Post piece as one of this week's Top 5 Blogs.

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