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Religion and Media II: Mass Media

Session Chair: N.N. | Tuesday, August 25, 1:30-3 p.m. | Venue

Timothy Stoneman

The Religion-Technology Nexus in Historical Perspective

From the printing press through revivals to contemporary televangelism, Protestants have utilized communication technology with great effect to proclaim, proselytize and protect the purity of the Christian faith. How do we explain the phenomenal success of Protestant communication, especially evangelical innovation? Why do certain religious traditions lend themselves readily to the instrumentalization of technology, and how does religion in turn fuel faith in technology? Drawing on the author’s extensive historical research experience on evangelical radio broadcasting in the 20th century, the paper explores how radio broadcasting joined the properties of media and materiality. Radio tuning became a modern ritual practice for religious listeners that mediated the divine message through daily repetition and material presence. The synergy of sectarian American religion and private broadcasting produced a powerful vector for historical change in the developing world during the crucial transitional middle decades of the century, paving the way for the rise of a global Christianity centered in the southern hemisphere.

Lenka Zilvarova

‘Muslim Fundamentalism’ and Its Mass Media Representation in BBC News

The way how Muslim fundamentalism is reported, be it social sciences or mass media, is concerning due to chaotic accomplishing as well as the lack of theory and any fixed frame what fundamentalism actually is. Nowadays to mark a movement fundamentalist is definitely in accord with explaining neither its character, nor the heart of the fundamentalism matter. This paper focuses on phenomena, such as Islamism, Salafism, Jihadism, that are frequently labelled as Muslim fundamentalism in general. The question of their relevance in given context, the issue of mass media representation and interpretation principles form the theoretical frame of the paper. Analysis of mass media contents (including the terms discussed) published on BBC News websites between November 2010 and November 2014 follows. The findings show how the BBC mass media picture of Muslim fundamentalism manipulates public opinion of Muslims as a social (religious) group and fortifies intuitive stereotypes.

Lee Scharnick-Udemans

Between complaints and concession: The role the Broadcasting Complaints Commission in the production and managment of religion in post-post apartheid South Africa

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission as the independent judicial tribunal mandated with ensuring the protection of free speech and the promotion of a high standard of broadcasting is arguably the most authoritative and consequently, powerful media institutions in South Africa. Hackett (2006,75) proposes, “media institutions and representations may constitute an important site of conflict between religions and the state, and between religious groups”. In lieu of this assertion, this paper will provide a descriptive and analytical account of the relationship between the BCCSA and the representation of religion on public-service television in South Africa. By providing an overview of the cases about religion which have been heard by the institution since its inception, this paper will provide a critical analysis of the ways in which the tensions between religion, politics and media within a state which promises both, the protection of human-rights and human-culture are managed.


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