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Media worsening religious intolerance – MCK report



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The media has been accused of fueling religious intolerance in the country due to its biased coverage on the war against terror and radicalization.
According to a report released by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), the media has sensationalized the terror war coverage, a trend that worsens religious intolerance.
The report, “Deconstructing terror: Assessing media’s role in religious intolerance and radicalization,” outlines incidences where the media has propagated stereotyping of Muslims who are portrayed as supporting terrorism and religious intolerance.
“People of the Somali origin are potential terrorists, all Muslims are potential terrorist because most terror suspects are Muslims and the war on terror is a war involving Muslims and Christians,” reads the report in part.
The report released on Monday further states that the media ignores the voices of moderation in the Muslim community while amplifying those with extremist perspectives. “The media gave extensive space and airtime to people with radical opinions and extremist views and sentiments with regard to terrorism and Jihadism and there exist Christian and Muslim biases in reporting issues of terror and radicalization,” continues the report.
The report indicates that as a result of its skewed, inaccurate and unbalanced reporting, the media has ignored the drivers of radicalization such as perceived inequalities, discrimination, historical injustices and indiscriminate arrest of Muslims.
Both the mainstream and social media were accused of facilitating negative discussions of extremism, radicalization and religious intolerance where hate speech was the dominant factor.
The council which is responsible for the regulation of media in the country recommended that the media should avoid bias reporting in the war against terror and radicalization and instead promote healthy dialogues.
The media was also warned against giving space and airtime to people with extremist and radical views and avoid stereotypes which label all Muslims and Somalis as potential terrorists while the government was told to put in place measures to ensure that the social media is not used as a forum to promote extremism and religious intolerance.


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