Rūta Sutkutė


In the 21st century media has become the dominant source of knowledge of Islam and Muslims and selectively decides what the West should know about Islam and what should be hidden. However, the underlying assumption is that, the media as an institution forming stereotypes depends on the local socio-cultural context. The goal of this paper – to find out how media (as the mediator) forms values, world view of a society, creates stereotypes in different cultural environments through analysis of Muhammad cartoons. The objectives are: to define the concepts of Neo-Orientalism, Muslimophobia and Islamophobia; to find out the connection between media representations and negative images of Islam and Muslims in the society; to reveal the main stereotypes of Muslims and Islam in online media in 4 different countries by analysing the case of Muhammad cartoons.
The conducted qualitative and quantitative content analysis confirmed the hypothesis that in the specific cultures the same event is presented in different ways while forming value based orientation for a specific audience. Western media seeks to portray Muslims as terrorists / Islamists that are against West, their values and any possibility of integration in Western societies. Meanwhile, Lebanon and India (Kashmir) media does not portray orientalism and Islamophobic views, because audiences are dominated by Muslims. However there are noticeable manifestations of Occidentalism - resistance to the West and the Islamophobic portrayal of public in media. Moreover, information serves as a public mobilization function, so there are reasons to believe that violent protests in Kashmir and Lebanon could have been encouraged by the media.


Orientalism; Islamophobia Jyllands-Posten Muhammad Cartoons; Media; Stereotypes; Muslim Representation; Stigmatization

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