VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 20 POSTED ON: 9/19/2011
Media Strategic Framing of Muslim Collectives ‘The UMMAH’ only shows strips of reality. Presented by Sara Al Mojaddidi Erasmus Mundus Thematic Conference “Communication: Let’s re-define the terms” March 2010 Definition of the ‘UMMAH’ “The sacred text of Islam, the Qur'an , uses term, ummah, to refer to the community of believers. The term is used to describe both individual communities, both great and small, of faithful Muslims and to refer to the world-wide community of believers—in the latter sense of the term it is synonymous with dar al-Islam "The House of Islam," which refers to the world Islamic community. In its widest sense (…) and sometimes to the entire human community. Strictly speaking, however, the ummah almost always refers to the Islamic community in either concrete reality or in the abstract. Since Islam was inaugurated by Muhammad, it is Muhammad that is the founder of the ummah .” (R.Hoker,1996) A Misconception of foreign colletives Vehicles of Supranational UMMAH Change Communities Shawn Powers’ notions of Media ‘Framing’ ‘Framing’ : as a non-static means of expression that illustrates a particular journalistic portrayal of one ‘specific symbol’, (Powers, 2008) of culture, such as - Nationalistic Muslims - Jihadists - Shaheeds – Extremists- Radicals-Fundamentalists (The list is endless) An obvious benefit to utilizing the clash narrative while emphasizing the supposed generalization of the ‘ violent’ nature of Muslim protests. - “The media’s ability to tap into cultural codes, but also profits from the benefits of sensationalizing and dramatizing global events.” (Powers, 2008) Re-defining our terms Globalization ‘The Ummah’ model “is a matter of increasing long Solid unification of static ideals distance interconnectedness, at and a brotherhood that abides least across national boundaries, by its religious pillars of faith. preferably between continents Living in a high accessible world as well.” (Hannerz, 1996) via Internet also enhances the scholarship process of Living in a sophisticated realm mainstreaming technological of advances along a traditional, high visibility, where the religious background. Internet has contributed greatly to our ‘Network Society’ which in turns crates a ‘ high Risk’ Society . Globalisation With the ever growing vastness of information, one tends to feel that the rise of new media: Internet, digital media and electronic news wires, tends to overflow the world wide web However ! Within a high accessible society, information becomes fragmented and there is a lack of accountability regarding the complex social fabric of norms that are alien of our own traditions. The concept of ‘One Community’ Muslims occupy about 20% of the world’s religious population and probably occupy half of the sensationalist news frames we see on CNN and on Al Jazeerah today. Globalisation might constitute an essence of being interconnected and participating within a global community, but where is the scholarship in limiting all vehicles of change to one type of model. Information Age, Supranational, Globalisation might all resonate similar definitions but you have Muslims living within their own supraterritorial community which might seem as a culmination of different groups. which is incorrect, ‘The Ummah’ is defined as ‘ one community’ , which is the paradox most social theorists need to debate on. ‘Strategic Framing’ and the Roles the media takes upon itself: The Danish Cartoon Crisis From the beginning of time , pictures are sought out to be widely comprehended than a universal language employed by today’s globalised world. The paradox of ‘freedom of expression’ verses ‘ wheels of morality’ both the media and the civil society were at fault. To ignite a particular debate mediated by ‘Danish tradition’ to help soften a sensitive issue will without a doubt rekindle all fires of resentment which leads to Hunigton’s ‘ Clash of Civilizations’. What role does the media play in the rush towards globalisation? Jyllands-Posten's, a journalistic medium which ideally represents a platform for conveying the message across , expanded its role from an objective medium towards other roles such as ‘ instigator’ and ‘conductor’. Clash narratives are frequently used within ‘strategic framing’ eg ‘ burning flags, riots , rampage’ whereas silent demonstrations such as the out come of 5000 Muslims in front of Jyllands-Posten’s office in pursuit of an apology, was marginalized by the media. "To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago. Furthermore, the Indonesian school Obama attended in Jakarta is a public school that is not and never has been a Madrassa." - Obama statement Media’s Role as a Gatekeeper The notion of other Western newspapers reaching a unique sense of solidarity of choosing to republish the infamous ‘caricatures/Danish cartoon crisis’ clashed with the orthodox basic media’s role as a ‘medium’ conveying the message across. French newspapers like France Soir and German newspapers choosing to republish can only be described as the media taking upon itself a new role of ‘instigator’ and ‘gatekeeper Multiple Roles of the Media The media taking it upon itself a new role of being an ‘instigator’ or gatekeeper to echo its beliefs of freedom of expression and engage subjectively such as France Soir by denouncing that “ religious dogma has no place in a secular society.” (Powers, 2006) This is a dramatic shift of mediums being objective towards a complex role that the media decides to participate subjectively in the increasingly interconnected global media landscape. ‘mediatized rituals’ (Simon Cottle). The so called Ethos ? Flemming Rose, stood by his principles of addressing a concern that was seen as a crucial problem within a local Danish community. The problem with ethos is everything is taken out of context, even if the intentions were not ‘malaise’. The initial end product of the caricatures was to instigate a debate that would critically engage at understanding why is their self censor ship with regards Islamic Religious figures. “Imagined Communities” “In an anthropological spirit, then, I propose the following definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community - and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion... In fact, all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined. Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined.”* *According to Georgetown University’s extracts from introduction http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/CCT510/Sources/Anderson-extract.html Linkage to Anderson’s theory of ‘definition of a nation’ “Benedict Anderson (Media Scholar) is the author of one of the most important concepts in political geography, that of nations being ‘imagined Communities.” It is imperative to understand that ‘Ummah’ and ‘globalisation’ are viewed as ‘vehicles of change’ but are completely different as one entity constitutes to a transfer of ideas whereas the ‘Ummah’ is static and focuses on the overall census of all Muslims existing in the world. Case Study 1: Danish Cartoon Crisis The ethical question lies in whether or not Flemming Rose, stood by his principles of addressing a concern that was seen as a crucial problem within the local Danish community. The problem with ‘ethos’ or ‘ethical questioning’ is they all function differently and are understood in a different context when taken out of their local elements and later fragmented and ‘lost in interpretation on an international landscape. The initial end product of the cartoon crisis was to instigate a debate that would critically engage at understanding why is their self censorship when it comes to Islamic Religious figures? Case Study 2: Fatal Commentary When Nigerian journalist Isioma Daniel wrote a comment on Prophet Mohammed and a beauty pageant, little did she know that her words would change her life.By Hilde Marie Tvedten (text) and Lars Idar Waage (photo) 10.09.2008 14:37 Global Sensitivities There is a growing threat between fear and lack of understanding within journalistic principles that oppose ‘self censorship’ as per the first case study mentioned and the aftermath of the media and their responsibilities of upholding the peace as the media can not be the only devised journalistic portrayal of cultures. If we are to live in an interconnected global media landscape, where the internet and transfer of information knows no limitations, there needs to be a strengthened policy for cultural ethics whether it be the examination of roles the media tends to play in this ‘rush’ of a globalised world. Ethical questions and the preservation of norms and values such as the case of Muslims sensitivity towards the ‘illustrations’ of prophet Muhammad, will forever be questioned and needs to be incorporated in the heart of today’s mass media. Concluding Statement However the media should not act as a catalyst that instigates civil rivalries, boycotts and riots. The complexity of the increasingly interconnected global landscape calls for a ‘sensitive’ platform that should be digressed and not dismissed in today’s globalized arena of journalistic depictions of a specific culture.
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