Range of Muslim views not represented in media, says Dorothy Byrne

Broadcasters fail to fully represent the range of Muslim voices in Britain, the head of Channel 4 news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, said today. Byrne told the News Xchange 2008 conference in Valencia that there was a problem with the media making sweeping generalizations about Islam, which she said was “not at all helpful.”

Addressing a session looking at the representation of Islam in the news media, Byrne told delegates the findings of a report her network commissioned on the attitudes of British Muslims contrasted with their representation on UK TV news. “I think there is a strong tendency for broadcasters to go and interview young men outside mosques to find out what Muslims think. In our survey, we found that 48 percent of British Muslims do not actually attend mosques. Therefore you wouldn’t get an accurate picture of what people think,” she said. “They [British broadcasters] have a tendency to go to just one or two organizations for comment … one is the Muslim Council of Britain. In our survey, when we asked Muslims who they thought represented them only 11 percent of British Muslims thought the Muslim Council of Britain represented them, compared with 19 percent of people who thought their member of parliament represented them. I think we have got to be very thoughtful and careful,” she added.

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