The media and labelling in the context of Australia's terrorism environment: social media responses from Muslim groups in Australia
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 20:54 by Alannah Cooper
Muslims are a labelled audience in contemporary Australian society, especially in relation to concepts such as terrorism. This negative discourse is often perpetuated by Western mainstream media, encouraging an environment of suspicion and marginalisation. The impacts of labelling and influence of the media has been widely researched, though specific media sources and content consumed by this labelled audience remains largely unknown, especially from an online perspective. As labels can be damaging for both individuals and groups, it is important to assess whether, and to what degree, Muslim groups in Australia are consuming and responding to media containing these characteristics of labelling. By examining the Australian mainstream media and content pertaining to Muslims, Islam and terrorism, this thesis provides empirical data that contributes to an understanding and extent of labelling of Australian Muslim groups and the relationship, if any, to terrorism discourse. This research found an underrepresentation of Australian mainstream media, with terrorism being a preferred topic gained from media sources outside of the Australian mainstream media. Australian-based terrorism incidents were omitted almost entirely, with a focus on international incidents that have Muslim or child victims. There was also a preference overall for content surrounding Islamophobic or racist rhetoric. It is therefore suggested that the sample groups largely shared content reinforcing characteristics of labelling, such as victimisation and marginalisation, whilst actively avoiding the association with terrorism relating to Muslim offenders against non-Muslims. Another focus, however, was on positive and neutral media pertaining to Muslims, also providing a sense of rebuttal against stereotypes. This research provides updated data from a social media perspective, and from the responses of the labelled audience.