“Muslims in the European ‘Mediascape’: integration and social cohesion dynamics” - a pilot research report led by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, a London based think tank, with the support of the Vodafone Foundation Germany, has identified a number of trends related to the perceptions and consumption of the mainstream and minority media and the implications for greater social cohesion in Germany, France and the UK.
While there is increasing mistrust on the part of Muslim communities regarding the objectivity and balance of the mainstream media with a shift from supply oriented media (i.e. media that is produced by institutions of the country of residence for the minority population) to demand-based media which has proliferated over the last 10 years (i.e. media produced by members of the minority community themselves or in the country of origin), fears of the emergence of ‘segregated information societies’ in Europe or ‘Muslim Media Ghettos’ have been overstated. Instead, European Muslims interviewed in the research appear to be supplementing rather than replacing mainstream media with minority and foreign media sources. In addition, twice as many people felt that language and a desire to get information about their countries of origin were more important drivers towards minority media usage than religion. The trend is one of media diversification with a sharp increase of internet and new media usage.
It is also noteworthy that both the mainstream and minority media’s delivery of balanced reporting was called into question by the respondents.
The pilot research is based on interviews and on focus group sessions with almost 150 media consumers and professionals. It provides a picture of Muslim oriented media available today in France, Germany and the United Kingdom and is a first step in identifying perceptions both of the portrayal and participation of Muslims in the media industry at large.
“The issue of community integration is key to the future of Europe and I am sure that this year’s M100 Sanssouci Colloquium will make a significant contribution to the debate. Research into European Muslims’ experience of the Media will give decision makers and the media greater insight into current trends and ultimately will help to shape policies”, comments Louis Schweitzer, Chairman of Le Monde and member of the M100-Board.
Dr. Mark Speich, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Foundations, Vodafone AG Germany & Executive Director, Vodafone Foundation Germany: “The ISD pilot research shows very interesting trends and raises important questions which future studies should examine in more detail. This paper indicates that the widely held opinion that we are facing a ‘ghettoisation’ due to Muslim media consumption cannot be maintained.” The Vodafone Foundation Germany has generously sponsored this research in line with its aim to aid integration in Europe.
The Colloquium provides a forum for dialogue between leading media professionals on the challenges facing the sector and on the impact news reporting can have on public perceptions, inter-communal harmony and international relations.