Taylor's FSLM Journals
Political parallelism and the representation of Islam and Muslims in the Australian Press

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

Muhammad Junaid Ghauri

Abstract:

Recent studies conducted in the UK, US, and in few other European countries have revealed a prominent political parallelism phenomenon in the news coverage of Islam and Muslims. The studies have evidenced that the coverage of Islam and Muslims is widely influenced by the ideological leanings of the newspapers. This paper sets out to explore whether the ideological differences of the Australian newspapers are reflected in the coverage of Islam and Muslims from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017. Employing Van Dijk’s (1998b) ideological square and lexicalization approaches within the CDA paradigm, this study examined editorials from two leading Australian newspapers. The findings validate the existence of the political parallelism phenomenon in the editorial contents of the selected newspapers representing Islam and Muslims. The findings show that The Australian, which is a “rightist” or “conservative” newspaper, toed the line of “right-wing” political parties and politicians such as Ms. Pauline and Mr. Turnbull, portrayed Islam and Muslims in an overwhelmingly negative way, appreciated anti-immigration policies, criticized those who support accepting refugees, highlighted violence in Muslims countries, and collectivized Muslims while commenting on terrorist attacks in the West. On the other hand, The Age, which is a “leftist” or “centre-left” newspaper, criticized the “far-rights” for appreciating and supporting the “rightist or conservative” policies against Muslims, advocated the “leftist or progressive or liberal” stance, portrayed Islam and Muslims in a positive, supportive and balanced way, and advocated understanding, harmony and cohesion in Australia.

Keywords: political parallelism, Islam, Muslims, ideological square, lexicalization