Get The Trolls Out! partner MDI (Media Diversity Institute) complained to PayPal after British media personality Katie Hopkins released a propaganda movie called “Homelands” in June. The film promotes anti-Muslim and xenophobic ideas, and pits the Jewish and Muslim communities against one another.
The Media Diversity Institute(MDI) has filed a complaint against an article by The Daily Mail that spreads fear about Muslims.
The article, published on Mail Online on 3 May 2019, claimed that “Mohammed was the most popular first name for boys born in Berlin in 2018”, but a closer look at the results of the Society for the German Language (GfdS) study revealed that this is not accurate.
In the complaint letter addressed to the Managing Editor at The Daily Mail, MDI expressed its concerns about the way the statistics were interpreted to spread anti-Muslim fears among the readers.
In German, there is a distinction between “vornamen” and “erstnamen”. In English, both translate as “first name”. A “vorname” is the general term for “first name”, but “erstname” is the very first name out of a series of first names.
For Berlin, the graphics on the GfdS website presents both the “vornamen” (“1. Alexander, 2. Maximilian, 3. Paul”) and the “erstnamen” (“1. Mohammed, 2. Luis, 3. Emil”). While most of the German media presented the statistics referring to the “vorname”, the statistic that the Mail Online quoted referred to the top 10 “erstnamen” in Berlin in 2018,
In the complaint, MDI pointed out that Daily Mail reporter Tim Stickings “looked at one federal state (Berlin) and then only at one very specific sub-set (“erstnamen”) of a sub-set (boy’s names) for one year (2018).” In short, it seems that Tim Stickings sifted through the study on most popular first names ignoring the wider picture and the overall facts and opting instead for one name, “Mohammed”, which was number one in one category and then proceeded to build an article around this less relevant result”.
Out of around 22,000 baby boys born in Berlin in 2018, only 280 have “Mohammed” as “erstname”. A very low number, that also includes all its 25 variations, something that is unusual with other names. Mohammed is also frequently given as a very first name, which means it leads to a higher frequency than other names in the same category.
The complaint letter says that “by focusing on a hyper-specific case and inflating its significance, your article distorts facts and misleads readers.” “The way the statistics are interpreted and framed in your article suggests that the Muslim population in Berlin has outnumbered non-Muslim residents”, the letter continued. “It also suggests that this is a wider trend across Germany which is linked to the arrival of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. In doing so, your reporting implies that this trend is problematic, that having “Mohammed” among the top first names is something negative and worth highlighting.”
In the context of a media coverage as defined by ECRI as using “offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology”, MDI believes that the Mail Online article is dog-whistling Islamophobia. It recalls inflammatory narratives of “Islamisation” and spreads unfounded fears among those who read your newspaper.
French GTTO partner LICRA is planning on taking legal action against Renaud Camus based on a recent post on Twitter in which he shared extremely hateful xenophobic sentiments.
The EUJS has reacted to an Islamophobic statement by the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karin Kneissl. At the opening conference of the Slovakian Chairmanship of the OSCE in February, which focused on the topic of antisemitism, Karin Kneissl, foreign minister in Austria's right wing, nationalist coalition government, stated that if we speak of antisemitism we should look to Muslims and immigrants.
The European Union of Jewish Students wrote a complaint to Doorbraak, an opinion website, for the publication of an article explicitly blaming Islam for being a violent religion that poses security threats to Belgian society.
A complaint by EUJS to a reporter at the outlet Sceptr requesting him to stop purposely framing migrants as criminals has been left without any answers. Sceptr, a nationalist alternative media site covering news in Belgium and the Netherlands, regularly handpicks articles on crimes allegedly committed by migrants, even when there is no evidence that the perpetrators are foreigners.
A complaint by EFOMW requesting the Belgian news outlet La Libre to avoid dangerous simplifications when reporting on Muslims has been ignored by the editors. An opinion piece published in March has made widespread generalisations about what classifies as good Muslims and bad Muslims, creating misunderstandings that could lead to discrimination against those that the author sweepingly labels in a negative way.
A complaint by EFOMW requesting the Belgian news outlet 7sur7 remove photos with Nazi insignias from an article is ignored by the editors. The article appeared on 7sur7 provided a platform for Nazi symbols and to the opinion of a man who defines himself as a Hitler fan.
IPSO has been called out for failing to protect minorities from press discrimination. The Media Diversity Institute teamed up with Hacked Off to write an open letter to IPSO calling for an end to #RacismInThePress.
On 17th December, Francophone Belgian website 7sur7 reported that Toblerone chocolate received its halal certification in April 2018. The article’s sensationalist title – “What you probably did not know about Toblerone” – implies that the owner of the brand, the US food group Mondelez, is involved in a secret conspiracy to please Muslim buyers to the detriment of others. Although Toblerone’s recipe had not actually changed, the article maintains this accusatory tone by using words that imply conspiracy, like “in all discretion” and “did not want to reveal”.