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Media, faith and security

Protecting Freedom of Expression in Religious Context
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 Roundtable on 'Media, Faith and Security' recommendations

  1. To stem the slide toward an increasingly divided society, establish a consulting forum led by media and government to facilitate professional communications practices for mosque leaderships,  neighbourhood centres, charities, schools and other minority group institutions. The goal:  to enable them effectively to promote , and  publish  more balanced narratives about their communities.
  2. Appoint a well-recognized figure (for example, a celebrity role model) as a Muslim Media Relations Officer to encourage contextual awareness  and media education surrounding minority group issues and perspectives; the position would be responsible for representing the multiple viewpoints necessary to serve as an effective  spokesperson for the Muslim community as a whole.. The Muslim Media Relations Officer would be a member of the consulting forum (see above)
  3. Encourage media employment of ‘community relations’ reporters as specialist correspondents (much like political, financial and health editors), to improve the balance in reportage on faith and other minority affairs. The remit should include:  improving domestic awareness of counter-narratives, bettering understanding of how global events shape British responses to local communities and enhancing comprehension of the connections between local (diaspora) communities and their countries of origin, including  the sharing of discourses, entertainment preferences and  ideological attitudes.  
  4. Build media resources within minority communities that actively encourage capacity building, and that can provide tools, such as media training programmes. The goal: to engage community members, especially the youth, in developing skills for effective media planning, and interaction.
  5. Encourage trusts, foundations and other civil society and mainstream opinion-forming organizations to partner with and include Muslim and other minority representatives, especially women.
  6. Actively support all affirmative engagement with majority community values through positive role models the Muslim community can identify with.
  7. Promote opportunities for Muslim role models (such as Nadiya Hussein, Mo Farah)  to provide inspiration to minority groups, including youth and women.
  8. Support British media productions (drama series, soap operas, documentaries, films, talk shows, game shows, reality TV and other entertainments) that feature minority figures and local minority group issues. The goal:  to raise the competitive edge of British output vis-à-vis the consumption needs of this audience, and increase the visibility of British, over country-of-origin, media offerings.
  9. Encourage clear definitions of radicalisation (as terminology) to be circulated within the law enforcement and security agencies, and put in place guidelines to protect individuals from agency profiling.  
  10. Assign minority group coverage to non-minority reporters and editors, so as to broaden awareness and avoid ‘ghettoisation’ of minority coverage. Develop and promote context-sensitive awareness and language use among staff.


The Roundtable was organized by the University of Cambridge Centre for the Study of the International Relations of the Middle East and North Africa (CIRMENA), in partnership with the Woolf Institute and the Centre of Islamic Studies, and was made possible through the support of an ESRC Impact Acceleration Action Programme Grant (ES/M500409/1).For further information, please contact Dr. Roxane Farmanfarmaian,, or the University of Cambridge Research Communications Office,


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