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Our intention is to inform people of racist, homophobic, religious extreme hate speech perpetrators across social networking internet sites. And we also aim to be a focal point for people to access information and resources to report such perpetrators to appropriate web sites, governmental departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Islamophobia and the Media (USA)

Islamophobia — an irrational fear and hatred of Muslims — is spreading throughout the American body politic. Churchgoers threaten to burn the Koran, citizens condemn plans for a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan, and pundits malign President Obama as a closet Muslim.

Is our president a Muslim? Of course not. Neither is the Koran an evil document, or Park51 a rebuke to the memory of those who died on 9/11. Journalists, whose job it is to inform the public in service of the democratic process, ought to make these facts clear. But rather than state the obvious, and help dispel the irrationality that runs rampant at a time of economic difficulty and social upheaval, too many mainstream news outlets are feeding the maelstrom of misinformation with stories that play up irresponsible allegations.

Instead, journalists need to focus on two questions — one to guide their coverage, and another to inform their professionalism. Their first task is to investigate why Islamophobia is on the rise. This entails exploring the social, cultural, economic and political conditions that inculcate fear, hatred and scapegoating. It also means asking who benefits from spurring widespread paranoia. For example, in Europe and the United States, a network of online Web sites provides a locus and rationale for anti-Muslim activity. But there’s been little examination of who funds and directs Stop Islamisation of Europe or Stop Islamization of America.

Second, journalists need to ask themselves what they’re about: why they became reporters, and what their mission is. Having worked in newsrooms and taught the next generation, I know that most reporters are motivated by the desire to inform, enlighten and find a really great story. They don’t set out to sensationalize the news, but the industry’s current logic of hits, clicks and eyeballs can bend coverage to what news managers believe is popular with the public.

Islamophobia is on the rise because it serves someone’s political agenda. Rather than write around the question — adding to the whirlwind of anger, panic and mistrust, our news media need to start asking the right questions.

Diane Winston Politics and Society