Media is considered as the most powerful weapon in shaping the world public opinion. For decades, it has been the media that has controlled the intellectual trends in the world, thereby controlling minds and forging facts. Media has become the eye of the common masses to see the world. People get all the information regarding the world from media. People sitting home totally rely on the facts and figures that the media and news channels show them. But do they ever think that the information that the media gives them might not be true? Do they understand that the MEDIA PEOPLE are humans too and know how to take sides for greater benefits? Although the media is obliged to be unbiased and is supposed to keep the real facts in front of people without putting their personal opinions in the news, this seldom happens.
Beautifully quoted by Malcolm X:
“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent and that’s power. Becausethey control minds of masses. “
Admit it or not, the media clearly influences how we see the world. Media has the power to infuse certain images. They filter the news and events in line with the media agenda and summarize the reality to a certain angle so that the recipient can see the incident from one perspective only. This is called the FRAMING THEORY in mass communication which was put forward by Erving Goffman under the title of “Frame analysis”. The framing theory is widely exercised in mass communication. The basis of framing theory is that the media focuses attention on certain events and places them within a field of meaning. In clear words, framing theory suggests that how something is presented to the audience (called “ The frame”) which influences the perception of the news by the audience. They not only tell the audience what to think about also tell them how to think about the issue. This shows how the media has a critical role in shaping the perception of people.
It is a very clear fact that the greatest force influencing the perception of people regarding the world scenario is the Western media. Admit it or not, western media knows how to turn all cards in their favour by showing the people what they want them to see. The western governments are clever enough to use media as the MasterCard to justify all their behaviors. Since decades the western media is trying to distort the image of the Arab and the Muslim world. This has been done in many ways; through exaggerated one-sided news, books and movies.
“ According to a major analysis by Muslim Council of Britain, most of the coverage of Muslims in the British news outlets has a negative slant. The study found that 78% of the news and stories published feature Muslims having negative themes.
“ The two major magazines, Newsweek and Time which have been covering the relationship between the US and Afghanistan over the last decade, distributed 20 leading articles in which 57% coverage was negative i.e. against Muslims with regard to current events in Afghanistan, about 37% coverage was neutral and only around 6% of the coverage was positive. The negative content would often consist of excessive mentioning of Al-Qaeda, Taliban, mistreatment of women, recruitment of terrorists etc.
They try to lead others to develop a one sided view of Islam. The terms “Terrorism”, “ Bombs”, “Violence” are reserved for Muslims and are never related to Non-Muslims regardless of their actions. In fact, the negative stereotype of Muslims is also influenced by Hollywood movies. Hollywood movies like: DC 9/11: THE TIME OF CRISIS, WORLD TRADE CENTRE, THE SIEGE portray Muslims as ignorant, misguided and the enemies of humanity. Muslims are depicted as the “others” or “enemies”. Thus distortion has been a continuous action and the western media has worked on maintaining this distorted image especially after the September 11 attacks. In many cases the press has talked and written about Muslims in ways that would not have been acceptable if the reference were to Jews or fundamentalist Christians. The term “Islamic” or “Muslim” are linked to extremism, terrorism, attacks as if they belong together eternally. Media uses the words like Muslim Extremist, Islamic terror, Islamic war and what not to show the world how inhumane Muslims are.
Mohammad Ridouani, a Belgian politician, in his statements said the mis-interpretation of Arabs and Muslims in the western media is not an immediate matter, but rather a return to the middle Ages since the Crusades and the colonial attempts to fabricate the images and describe Muslims as the Enemies.
The Palestinian author, Edward Said played an important role in explaining how the western world was framed by orientalists and the western media did not want to recognize the fact and thus in order to erase this fact they described Muslims as primitive, ignorant and slaves in mist western films.
Media does all it can to defame and criminalize the Muslims. They potray Muslims as terrorists thus making the whole world hate Muslim community. A 2010 Gallup poll, has even revealed that about 43% of Americans reported the feeling of some type of prejudice against Muslims. This indicates that individuals have developed strong opinions about Muslims based on what has been heavily displayed by the media. A report from the University of California Berkeley and the council of American-Islamic relations estimated that 206 million dollars were funded to 33 groups in America whose primary purpose was to promote prejudice and haters against Muslims. Each and every incident whether big or small that comes from the Muslims is exaggerated and remembered for years. However the atrocities and attacks on the Muslim community are never given importance. The acts of Taliban and Al-Qaeda are remembered and debated to spread hatred but the killing of at least 49 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand was forgotten in days. The case of Malala Yousafzai was highlighted by the western media just to distort the image of Muslims. She was given importance and used like a weapon to underline the atrocities of Muslims but the hundreds of Muslim girls tortured in the West for being Muslims are never highlighted. This is media. They show one part and hide the other.
Now the question remains that why would the western media want to distort the image of Muslims?
Why does the western media spread hatred against Muslims? There are lots of logical reasons to it. The Europeans know (though don’t acknowledge) the power of Muslims and their potential to rise to power for the Muslims had ruled large parts of Europe in past time. They know that if Islam prevails their power will topple. It’s clear that Islam is against their activities and can be a hindrance. Islam is against all the evil and oppressive policies that they propose. Thus they seek to remove the obstacles on their path by criminalizing the Muslims. They don’t want to risk losing power thus suppress all the potential threats. They fear that like the past Muslims will again come to power and end all their possibilities of creating a new world order based on their evil thoughts. Also as discussed earlier, it was the Muslims who shaped the West. The fields of algebra, algorithm, architecture, medicine were all revolutionized by Muslims. The base of technology was put by Muslims. Al-Khwarizmi, the Muslim mathematician was the first to introduce Algebra and Algorithm to the world of Mathematics. His book, “The compendious book of calculation by completion and balancing” was translated into Latin in 12th century from which the term algebra arrives. Ibn Sina, a Persian physician and a polymath has made a lot of contributions in the field of Medicine and was the first to combine practical medical learning with a philosophical synthesis of key ideas. The basic shape of the West was given by Muslims and the western media never intends to give any credits to Muslims thus showing them as ignorant. It’s the Muslims who got Europe out of their dark age but this fact is never acknowledged by the West.
This is how the media works to show people the “reality” and influence the decisions they make and the thoughts they have. They portray the criminals as innocent and the innocent as criminals. If you don’t stay careful you’ll end up hating the people who are right. The writter is a class XI can be reached at Loneshabir73@gmail.com