BRITISH MUSLIMS TRY TO BAN NEGATIVE REPORTING OF ISLAM
A Muslim activist group with links to the Muslim Brotherhood has asked the British government to restrict the way the British media reports about Muslims and Islam.
The effort to silence criticism of Islam comes amid an ongoing public inquiry into British press standards following a phone-hacking scandal involving the News of the World and other British newspapers.
The Leveson Inquiry, established by British Prime Minister David Cameron in July 2011, is currently considering how to increase government oversight of the British media.
But in a move that many worry will result in government regulation of the Internet, Lord Justice Leveson, a British judge who serves as Chairman of the inquiry, now says he wants to include Internet bloggers into any system of press regulation that he proposes.
Observers say the Leveson Inquiry’s effort to regulate blogging, combined with the Muslim attempt to ban negative reporting about Islam, poses a clear threat to free speech in Britain.
Appearing before the Leveson Inquiry on January 24, Muslim activist Inayat Bunglawala said the amount of negative stories about Muslims in Britain is “demonizing” Islam and fuelling a “false narrative.” He called on the government to do all it can to “ensure a fairer portrayal, a more balanced portrayal of the faith of Islam” in the British media.
In a separate written submission, Bunglawala complained about the “enormous impact of coverage that is proven to be inaccurate, inflammatory, prejudicial and detrimental” to the representation of Islam in Britain.
He continued: “British Muslims as a social group collectively suffer from poor media practices, whether this be the excessive attention granted to fringe Muslim groups, like Muslims Against Crusades, by the media or poor fact-checking prior to publication. Improving media practices and media responsibility on portraying and reporting fairly on Islam and British Muslims, without bias or discrimination or intent to incite anti-Muslim prejudice, is an urgent concern.”
His solution: The British media needs a “more robust system of self-regulation…one which mandates the right…to challenge misrepresentations, inaccuracies and false reporting.”
Lord Justice Leveson expressed sympathy for Bunglawala’s plea and said that any government regulation of the British media would have to extend to the Internet and include blogs, so as to ensure a “level playing field” between print and online media.