International Policy Fellow 2003
Representation policy of the Russian and Tatar Mass media towards Islam in the light of forming interconfessional tolerance
Russian mass media has been paying
great attention to Islam since the 1980s. It is caused by the revival
The events in
In 1999 the Human rights committee of United Nations Organizations passed the resolution in which the following fact was indicated: some representatives of mass-media provoke violence and discrimination referring to Islam, and as a result of such media policy, Islam is associated with human rights violation and terrorism, and this is absolutely unfair.
As general the data on Islam in mass
media of the
Soviet period is missing, the new information (the modern one) about
accepted by “tabula rasa”
of the public-consciousness. The small period of peaceful co-existence
Caucuses region after perestroika does not seem enough for Russian
public-consciousness to form the positive image of Moslem peoples.
Islam representation is inferior to the information which bears negative idea
about Islam and forms identifying of the notions “Moslem” and
state of inter-confessional and international relations in the country
accordingly social consensus and stability in the society depends
the fact how the population of
Does the image of Islam, broadcasted
by mass media correspond with the real face of this religious and all
processes in the Moslem world in
In the Russian mass media the image of Islam is rather contradictory. Chasing sensation in their strive to support rating of their printings, mass media is puffing up the topic of “Islam extremism”. Such a position of mass media is dangerous enough as mass media always form people’s evaluation of the happening events in the modern world and it influences social orientations. The news and events reflected in mass media as important ones become those in people’s minds.
It should be mentioned, that mass media is a source of religious information for many contemporaries according to the results of mass polls.
The purpose of the investigation is to study the influence of representation policy of Russian and Tatarstan mass-media on interconfessional tolerance.
This aim requires some objectives to be settled successively:
a. To estimate the level of attention of Russian and Regional press for the life of Muslims in republics of traditional distribution of Hanafit maskhab (Tatarstan, Bashkortostan).
b. To expose opinions, norms, values and stereotypes concerned Islam and Muslims translated by mass-media.
c. To determine the volume and degree of attention of Russian-speaking and Tatar-speaking press and TV of Tatarstan for contemporary state of Islam in republic.
To investigate the dominated appraisal of processes in
Muslim world of
the different subjects of
e. To characterize the dominated appraisal of processes in Muslim world of foreign countries reflected in Russian and Tatarstan press.
To reveal peculiarity of treatment of the questions
in Muslim world of
g. To characterize the deep of analysis of the problems concerned Islam and Muslims through exposure theoretical validity of information.
h. To describe peculiarities of representation of Muslims life of Tatarstan in local press.
The following hypotheses will be tested:
1. Information with negative image of Islam with low degree of tolerance prevail in general volume of information of mass-media, concerned Islam.
2. Image of Muslims translated by Russian Mass-media mainly consist of information messages concerned radical Islamic organizations.
Life events of Muslims in republics in republics of
distribution of Hanafit maskhab
(Tatarstan, Bashkortostan) do not have wide reflection in mass-media of
4. Russian mass-media represent role of vahhabits and extremists in Chechen war as a main.
Values of events in Muslim world of Near East,
6. Tatarstan mass-media do not refute to materials of Russian mass-media with negative characteristics of Islam.
7. Messages about contemporary state of Islam and interconfessional relations in Tatarstan represented in local press insignificantly.
8. Processes in Muslim diasporas are almost not represented in mass-media.
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Research methodology based on constructionist perspective – where social problems are analyzed as product of activity of interested groups who translating their position in mass-media.
In this project the use of qualitative methods of collecting and analyzing the data is supposed: the discourse-analyses and interview.
The use of discourse-analyses is aimed to reveal the discursive characteristics of the confessional stereotypes and influence of the mass media discourse on the mass-consciousness.
The main object of discourse-analysis is weeklies,
dailies and periodical press of
Discourse-analysis will consists of investigation of macro-structure and micro-structure of the text. Macro-structure of the text is headlines and sentences in subheadinings. Bases of manipulability and forming of public opinion are produced there. Another important part of discourse-analysis is research of methods of nominations of actors and their activity (for example – frequency of using of word-combination “Muslim extremists” as a designation of Chechen soldiers).
Micro-structure of the text consists of meanings of words and sentences. Lexical indexes of Islam and Muslims as a basis of inculcation of stereotypes and prejudice will be studied in this level.
Paragrafical factors will be also studied: color, type and size of litters, photos, pictures, models of message, place of the article on the page, title of the rubric.
The random of periodical press bases on two criteria: public-political character of the source and level of popularity. It is planned to analyzed following Russian newspapers (edited in Moscow): “Komsomolskaya pravda”, “Moskovski komsomolets”, “Argumenti I facti”, “Kommersant”, “Rossiskaia gazeta”, “Nezavisimaya gazeta” and “NG-religions”. Tatarstan newspapers: “Respublika Tatarstan” (newspaper of the government of the republic), “Vremya i Den’gi” (leading business newspaper), “Vechernya Kazan”, “Vostochnyi exspress”, “Zaman”, some newspapers edited for elections (Tatarstan), informal oppositional newspapers (Tatarstan).
Russian journals: “Profil”, “Itogi”, “Vlast’”, “Ogonek”.
Tatarstan journals: “Tatarstan” (journal of the government of the republic), “Oasis” (journal of Muslim youth).
To find out motivation, values and views of journalists, Muslim leaders concerned of representation of Islam in mass-media it is necessary to provide 40 non-formal in-depth interviews. It is planned to organize interviews with the Moslem leaders, editors/leading journalists of the local press and TV, lead teachers of the Department of Journalism of KSU, Tatarstan media decision makers. Interviews with Moslem leaders will be held in Tatar, which is the native language to the proposed informants.
Among them – 25 interviews will be held in the capital of Tatarstan, Kazan, other 15 – in different region of the republic.
At the end of the project I am going to organize the seminar “Islam and mass media: perspectives interconnections” for politicians, agents from the Government’s religious affairs Council of Tatarstan, Moslem Church Authority agents, journalists, media decision makers and scientists.
Realization of the project will help not just to reveal peculiarities of Islam presentation in mass media, influencing interethnic and Interconfessional tolerance, but also will throw light on peculiarities of the Moslem Church Authority, Officials cooperation with mass media and fixing actors responsible for co-operation with the press and journalism.
The investigations materials will be reflected in the several papers for the conferences and causes a series of publications devoted to the problem of Islam representation in mass media and the influence on Interconfessional tolerance is being prepared in Tatarstan newspapers and magazines.
The shorthand record of the seminar “Islam and mass media: perspectives interconnections” will be published.
The investigation results will be used in teaching such subjects as “Sociology”, “Ethnical-social processes” and “Mass communications” at the Kazan State Medical University, Department of Social work and will be used in some sociological and journalism courses at Kazan State University.
The results of the project, policy
analysis will be represented to the Religious Affair Council of
can be solved in the course of Tatarstan Republic Parliament sessions.
policy analysis will be represented to the to
Moslem Church Authority (of
Seminar will promote integration contacts between politicians, journalists and Muslim leaders and will help new media strategies.