Controversial What Should Be The Media Policy About Identifying A Person's Faith In Their Reporting?


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Faith should only be reported where it is directly relevant to the story. Particular care should be taken when reporting about minority faith communities so as not to feed into existing prejudices and stereotypes or create new ones.

Although Canadian media are usually quite careful in this regard, I am sometimes concerned to see faith reported where it bears no relevance to the story. For example, where a crime takes place, unless faith has played a role in the story, it ought not to be reported. In some situations, culture is relevant but it is religion that ends up being reported and the two are often quite different. For example, many Sikhs are of Punjabi origin but the values of the Sikh faith and Punjabi culture differ in many respects.

As a Sikh and a member of one of Canada's most visible faith groups, I am very conscious of the way my faith is reflected in the media. The first introduction many people have to the Sikh faith is through the media and so media coverage can have an impact on how I, and other Sikhs, are perceived on a daily basis.

The Sikh community has been in Canada for well over 100 years now and is actively engaged in every part of Canadian life. There are Sikhs serving in Canada's armed forces, local police forces and as elected members of all three levels of government. Every year, Sikh communities across Canada raise millions of dollars for Canadian hospitals, hold food drives and organize blood donation clinics during Sikh holidays. All the good things happening in the community are often not reported and even when they are, can be overshadowed by a single negative story.

Where faith is relevant, it should of course be reported, but in its proper context. The media need to be constantly aware of the way a faith group is covered and the impact it may be having on members of the community.
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Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
To compound the problem the media loves to report negative stories rather than positive stories - murders, scandals etc. Additionally the media treat suspects as guilty until proven innocent rather than the other way round and people tend to remember the initial headlines more than the follow up of the case. Sikhs are easily identified so it's very easy for the layman to get a distorted view :seriouskudi:

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