Galina Kozhevnikova: Russia journalist incompetent and suffering from xenophobia

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Community – News – Islam and Muslims in Russia and the world

October 6, 2009 – 2:17 am

Moscow media as opposed to regional colleagues is much more likely to use “hate speech”. The questionable “merit”, if not in formation, the maintenance of negative ethnic or religious stereotyping, as well, mostly owned by journalists, human rights activist Galina Kozhevnikova wrote in a study on “The journalists of the religious groups: between incompetence and hostility.” The text published on the website information-analytical center “Sova”.

“For many journalists, especially reporters, have no skills of the professional response to the unusual situation – the author claims. – And when there is something extraordinary, the first reaction of a journalist is unprofessional. As a result, instead of discreet and comprehensive description of events in the air and on the pages of newspapers often get panicky rumors are usually painted household xenophobic media workers.

So it was, for example, after the “Nord-Ost”, when anti-Chechen, anti-Caucasian and anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased an order of magnitude compared to the normal level.

This was during the Beslan events, the emphasis in the coverage of which was placed on the opposition of “Orthodox Ossetia,” “Muslim” (in the first place, “the Chechen-Ingush) terrorists. Meanwhile, the religious factor in Beslan, if present, it is clearly not dominated – Beslan is largely Muslim town in the predominantly Orthodox Christian republic indeed, but the terrorists did not distinguish between the hostages on the basis of religion, – says Kozhevnikova.

She observed that often brings the journalist professionalism in victims of domestic xenophobia and negative stereotypes.

journalist may use the term, having been widely used in everyday speech and bearing a pronounced negative pressure (for example, the word “sect” or “Wahhabi”). So in short, emerged in the early 2000’s, was the “suicide bomber”. Muslim religious leaders, and professionals-Arabists have repeatedly stated that it was insulting to Muslims. For example, in 2004 the Mufti Nafigulla Ashirov drew the attention of the audience NTV that the authorities and the press use the word “shahid” and other religious terms in a negative context, do not actually understand their meaning, the author writes. Next Kozhevnikova explains the true meaning of the word.

professionals have even tried to invite journalists to use another term – “Assassin”, which has primarily politically motivated, but it was too late: the wrong meaning of the word caught on and is actively used for any suspected terrorist act, the author notes.

According to her, the fracture occurred only after the intervention of the state: in November 2005 became aware of a certain informal circular from the Kremlin “, which in effect prohibits the use of religious language in coverage of negative events in the Caucasus. Only after this incorrect use of Islamic religious terms gradually began to leave.

Most journalists are speculating on Islamic topics in the headlines or announcements. These phrases can completely distort the content of the text, – notes Kozhevnikov.

For example, June 13, 2007 “Moskovsky Komsomolets published an article about a young man from Dagestan, the suspect (note – only suspected) to prepare a terrorist act in Moscow. It was entitled “Islam is preparing a terrorist attack in Moscow.”

It is hardly necessary to explain the perception of such a title by those who a priori convinced that “all terrorists – Muslims, and those who profess Islam. But in reality, a note says only that Islam – the name of the suspect the young man.

Worse still looks like the title “Russian wound Qur’an: They changed their names, their homeland and have faith the enemy” (Moskovsky Komsomolets. 07.04.07). Unlike many cases, this title has caused a scandal nationwide scale, until the official statements of the Council of muftis of Russia. Pavel Gusev, the chief editor of the newspaper that published an article (in general as anti-Islamic), was forced to publicly apologize.

human rights groups say that the journalist was not always able to separate the real problem of the existing ethnic or religious stereotyping.

“The vast majority publications and television coverage on the Paris events in Russian mass media, represented by the Paris riots as opposition to “white Christian Europe” black Muslim immigrants “, while ethnic and religious factors in these events, although it was present, but was negligible, – leads by example.

main spirit of what was happening was a social protest of poor disadvantaged suburbs. Participants of these events were in the majority of French citizens, and not all of them were “black Muslims”. We have the same racist view of these disorders are not simply dominated – after three years after the Paris event, it continues to be almost the only version that is actively used in anti-migrant campaigns carried out from time to time in the Russian media.

Meanwhile, insolvency “Muslim” version of the Paris riots indicates at least that in France there was no violence broke out later in the course of just four months after a major disturbance of scandal associated with the Danish cartoons. French Muslims (in the case of the cartoons, they were just as Muslims) to restrict the peaceful demonstrations of protest and lawsuits, – states Kozhevnikova.

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