LONDON – Baroness Sayeda Warsi has lamented the negative portrayal of Islam in the British media, warning that it is much worse than it was a decade ago.
“I could spend hours and hours on negative depiction by the written press,” she said, Anadolu Agency reported.
Warsi was addressing the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Committee on “hate crime and its violent consequences.”
The former Tory co-chair and member of the House of Lords added that low-level poisoning via negatively-written stories was now a “daily occurrence”.
She added that the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) was “not fit for purpose” to handle complaints about fake anti-Muslim stories.
While reporters could not get away with homophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic reports, anti-Muslim reporting was allowed and has gotten “much worse than it used to be in 2011.”
“IPSO allows discrimination against a certain group. It should re-think about their role,” she said.
Chris Frost, the chairman of the National Union of Journalists, echoed a similar opinion, adding he believed that the “problem is a large-scale” problem now.
Frost told the committee that some of the evidence he gathered was appalling, namely how some editors instructed their reporters to write stories in a particular way.
“One of the best ways of selling newspapers is making people believe that there is a risk. Because of the ISIS [Daesh], Muslims are the group targeted,” he said.
Frost underlined that as much as 64 percent of the British public received information about Islam and Muslims through the media, most not seeking any further information.
“It is vitally important for newspapers to know what they are talking about,” he said.
As a result of the negative media portrayal, Warsi told the committee that young Muslim girls wearing hijab are now standing by the walls in tube stations with the fear of being pushed on the rails.
“I did not think we would still have a debate about the headscarf in 2018,” she said.
Frost also pointed out that the negative Muslim coverage by the national print media encouraged individual blog writers to do the same.
“Especially the tabloids choose those stories deliberately because they know it would sell,” he said.
Warsi urged the prime minister and the leader of the opposition party to give a major speech about Muslims’ contribution to the UK.
Anti-Muslim attacks in the UK spiked after deadly terror attacks in Manchester and London Bridge last year, according to official figures.