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Journalist demands industry action after facing threats and racism

Shuiab KhanA Muslim journalist has demanded greater regional press action to tackle racism after being subjected to threats online.

Shuiab Khan, who works for the Lancashire Telegraph, has called for the industry to fight racist abuse “head on” following his decision to speak out against online abusers who have targeted him.

Shuiab, pictured, was told “you will pay” and called a “disgraceful piece of meat” after he reported on the roof being blown off of a mosque during the recent storms.

The abuse prompted him to write a column addressing the issue, dubbing those responsible “behind the screen cowards”. Shuiab did not report the latest abuse he received to police.

He has now warned of a potential knock-on effect such abuse may cause when it comes to recruiting the next generation of journalists.

Speaking to HTFP, Shuiab said: “People can become more concerned over the background of the writer than the words published. I have seen people leave abusive and outright racist views under an article that has nothing to do with the subject being raised.

“You can also get accused of all sorts of things and there are still stereotypical views about religion and race. There is an overwhelming feeling that ‘all Muslims are alike’ as are people from an Asian background.

“What I have found important, and thankfully others in the team agree, is that we should not allow local news sites to be dictated by those with prejudicial views. It needs to be tackled head on and these issues need to raised otherwise it remains this ‘unsaid problem’ within journalism that we would rather not talk about.

“It is probably what prompted me write a column as I have done in the past. Then people can see for themselves the effect this can have on ordinary people.

“Whilst we have a zero tolerance to such views on our sites it is difficult sometimes to police social media sites when your story appears there.”

“In many ways abuse and racist comments can be a huge put off to anyone wanting to go into journalism. Why would you go into a profession where you are likely to be abused for your gender or background over generic news stories?

“Other times people can be afraid to write about certain issues to do with their own community because they will be lambasted for doing so by a selection of readers.

“It shouldn’t be like that, as we are then ignoring large sections of our readers that need to be better served by the content we produce.

“As a writer you will take constructive criticism but downright nasty comments that you would never hear in the street are something we can all challenge.”