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New guidance produced for journalists covering Muslims and Islam

Charlotte DewarNew guidance has been issued for journalists reporting on Muslims and Islam.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has produced the guidance, which outlines key questions for journalists to consider and includes relevant case studies.

The publication also offers contextual information about Muslims and Islam in the UK.

The guidance has been welcomed by Fiyaz Mughal, founder of two pressure groups – Faith Matters, which aims to get faith communities to work together against conflict, and Tell Mama, which supports victims of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate.

He said: “I welcome this guidance document, which is an excellent balance after much deliberation and engagement by IPSO, its regulated publishers and diverse community activists and organisations where there is not always pluralism of thought or opinion.

“I strongly believe that any faith or ideology must be open to critique and that opinions by writers in publications should be protected.

“This means negative or derogatory opinions around faiths must be protected for publication, however much those views are disagreed with.

“However, on issues of fact that do not have anything to do with Muslims and Islam and which are woven into stories and conjecture that maligns whole communities so that it promotes discriminatory views about them, this document makes clear that there are important guidelines that should be followed.”

IPSO has previously produced similar guidance related to a range of issues including reporting deaths and inquests, major incidents, sexual offences, suicide, transgender issues and use of social media.

IPSO chief executive Charlotte Dewar, pictured, said: “Guidance helps editors and journalists to comply with the Editors’ Code by pulling together in one place information about how the Code applies to a particular issue.

“We hope this latest piece of guidance, like other guidance we have issued in the past, will help editors and journalists to report on this important subject in a way that fulfils the high standards set by the Editors’ Code of Practice.”