Thursday, 28 July 2011
A Muslim blows up people in suicide attacks or other wise will be described in the west as terrorist but when a white, blonde nice looking Norwegian carries out mass murderer and blows up buildings, he become a mentally instable person. Double standard?
Norwegian media is reported to have presented double standard when covering terrorist incidents on the whole, according to Jesper Str�mb�ck, professor of political communication at Mid Sweden University.
When reports of terror attacks in Norway became known, many media jumped to report that Muslim terror had hit the country. When it instead turned out that the perpetrator was a lone Christian and Norwegian, the media changed the word from "terrorist" to the more usable concept of "mass murder."
“Had this been a Muslim perpetrator it would have be impossible to separate the individual from the act of thought behind it. The media tends to politicize the Muslim affiliation more than the Christian,” says Jesper Str�mb�ck to Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.
“The opposition that Anders Brehding Breivik was a lone assailant does not affect the definition of whether it is an act of terrorism. There are a number of terrorist acts committed by individual Muslims. It is important that the media treats events equally,” says Jesper Str�mb�ck.
When the four men were arrested on suspicion of carrying out a terrorist act in Denmark in early 2011 the media directed their focus to the Muslim community. When confronted the journalists also suspects former wives and mothers to swear to questions of liability: "If they had seen the signs, if they had not known if they could be prevent?"
But in the Norwegian terrorist attack, the media is careful to use similar rhetoric. Although Anders Breivik has over a third of his life been linked to the Norwegian Progress Party, FRP, there are few who publicly identifies one of Norway's largest political parties to be partially responsible for the perpetrator's political world view.
When a journalist still connects the party's political rhetoric with Anders Breivik line of thought FRP's leader Siv Jensen reacted with disgust and says that the connection was in itself "as serious as mass murder of Ut�ya".
“For a party which themselves are quick to claim collective responsibility based on their document, this is a crazy argument. Furthermore, it is obvious that the offender and the party have a political consensus on several issues. Both FRP and Anders Breivik also points out the Social Democrats as the enemy of the state.
There is a lot of research and many historical examples of how precisely the rhetoric and the political message before the extreme violence was being displayed in the various medial outlets.
The expectations therefore that journalism should give a fair picture of society and of what is happening is gradually being eroded toward being partisan.
Looking at journalism in the context of terrorism is problematic in many ways. One result of terrorists' actions is that the media themselves often spreading terrorist agenda to a larger audience. Just today, perhaps Anders Breivik’s manifesto is the most read and most quoted scripture in the world.
This has made Anders Breivik works and scripture relevant to understanding of many people worldwide who might agree with his views and thinking. In addition, this publication is already out there in social media, according to Jesper Str�mb�ck.