Unveiling News Coverage of Muslim Women: Reporting in the Age of Terror

By Julie Posetti.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

Keywords: Media, Muslim, Women, Hijab, Islam, News, Journalism, Reporting, Veil, Headscarf, Minorities, Multiculturalism, Australia, Media Representation, Racism, Feminism, Western Media

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.69-80. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 562.223KB).

Julie Posetti

Lecturer, Journalism, School of Professional Communication, Division of Communication and Education, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Julie Posetti is an award-winning former Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) news and current affairs journalist, whose career highlights include a posting to the Canberra Press Gallery as a national political correspondent. Her diverse journalistic experience includes radio and television reporting, presenting and producing with a strong emphasis on social affairs coverage. In 1996 she was named the winner of the Australian Human Rights Award for Radio for her coverage of racism in federal politics and issues affecting indigenous and marginalised Australians. She is now lecturing in broadcast journalism at the University of Canberra where she won the 2005 Vice Chancellor's Distinction Award for Learning and Teaching. In 2007 she was the recipient of a national tertiary teaching award (Carrick Citation) for excellence in journalism education. Her research interests include political journalism, the ABC and multicultural reporting. She is currently researching a PhD on the reporting of Muslim women in TV news and she is the University of Canberra's principal researcher on the nationally funded,cross-institutional research project, Reporting Diversity.

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