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Bad news Swiss press paints Muslims in negative light

Police at a mosque

Stories such as alleged radicalisation at Winterthur's An'Nur mosque dominate press headlines about Muslims.

(© KEYSTONE / WALTER BIERI)

Most Swiss newspaper articles on Muslims convey a negative story, according to a recent study. Since 2015, more than half (54%) of all articles in Switzerland’s leading newspapers on the religious minority group have been about radicalisation and terrorism.

By contrast, topics such as successful integration and everyday life received marginal reporting with just 2% of all article covering each of these areas.

The Federal Commission against Racism says it will continue to work with the media, which can influence public perception with its choice of editorial subjects. 

The “Quality of reporting on Muslims in Switzerland” study, carried out by the University of Zurich, analysed print and online articles on Muslims from 18 newspapers across all language regions between 2009 and mid-2017. 

It found a growing proportion of articles that demonstrated a gap between Muslims and the general population, particularly following terrorist attacks around the world. In 55% of articles about Muslims, there was no opportunity for representatives to have a direct say in the story. 

However, the tone of articles varied according to the journal. Some 84% of articles in the weekly Weltwoche magazine were deemed to have generated distance between Muslims and the Swiss population, a percentage that falls to 63% in SonntagsBlick, 59% in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and 31% in Le Temps.


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