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New study looks at media coverage of faith and religion


The largest-ever Global Faith and Media Study has been published, looking at the portrayal of faith and religion in the media.

The Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) claims to reveal a strong demand across the world for more news coverage on faith, despite the reality that journalists and editors admit coverage of the topics is rarely encouraged in newsrooms.

The study captures the views of 9,000 global citizens as well as journalists and editors in 18 countries covering the world’s major religions. The research was commissioned by the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) and conducted by global market research company HarrisX.

The study claims that media coverage can perpetuate faith-related stereotypes rather than protect against them. It also lays out some of the factors that journalists and editors think can lead to religious and faith stereotypes in news coverage.

Researchers also say they have found a “universal recognition” among journalists and editors that coverage of faith and religion needs a reset. It captures detailed insights about the complex set of factors that have created the current status quo affecting editorial coverage.

“The data reveals that faith and religion are a core element of personal identity globally, with 82 per cent of respondents viewing themselves as faithful, religious or spiritual,” said Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX. “Yet the journalists with whom we spoke to believe that faith and religious coverage are becoming increasingly marginalized due to everything from newsroom economics to fears of ‘getting it wrong’. Ultimately, the research points to a clear global deficit in coverage, treatment and quality of understanding of faith and religion in modern media.”

Key insights from the Global Faith and Media Study include:

63% of people globally said that high -quality content on faith and religion is needed in their respective countries.

53% of people globally believe that the media coverage actively ignores religion as an aspect of society and culture today.

59% of people globally think that it is important that the news media coverage reflect a diverse set of religious perspectives in their content and reporting.

56% of people globally agree that there should be more nuanced coverage of complex religious issues.

Full details can be found by searching #FAMI and HarrisX on social media.

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