‘Political Parallelism’ and the Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Australian Press: A Critical Discourse Analysis - (Pages 38-45)

Muhammad Junaid Ghauri

Department of Media and Communication Studies, International Islamic University Islamabad, Pakistan

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.31907/2617-121X.2018.02.02.01

Abstract: Recent studies have evidenced that the coverage of Islam and Muslims is widely influenced by the ideological leanings of the newspapers. This paper is set to explore whether the ideological differences of the Australian newspapers are reflected in the coverage of Islam and Muslims during January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017. Employing Van Dijk’s (1998) ideological square and lexicalization approaches within the CDA paradigm this study examined editorials from two leading Australian newspapers. The findings have validated the existence of the ‘political parallelism’ phenomenon in the editorial contents of the selected newspapers representing Islam and Muslims. The findings showed that The Australian, which is a ‘rightist/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’/‘centre-left’ newspaper, criticized the ‘far-rights’ for appreciating and supporting the ‘rightist/conservative’ policies against Muslims, advocated the ‘leftist/progressive/liberal’ stance, portrayed Islam and Muslims in a positive, supportive and balanced way, and advocated ‘understanding’, ‘harmony’ and ‘cohesion’ in Australia.

Keywords: Political parallelism, Representation, Islam, Muslims, Critical discourse analysis, ideological square, lexicalization.