016: Volume 9, Issue 2, pp. 9-26

Dialogue and Persuasion in the Islamic Tradition: 
Implications for Journalism

Khairiah A. Rahman


As the dominant global media, Western media face constant ethical challenges. In a fast-paced, fast-changing world post-9/11, Western media have been accused of misrepresenting Islam and Muslims through biased reporting and misinformation. Muslims are often depicted as a homogenous group prone to acts of terrorism. Unsurprisingly, Muslims are cautious, if not resentful, of Western media that perpetuate Islamophobia. There needs to be more discussion on intercultural views of ethical communication if journalists and media outlets are serious about building trust and upholding ethical standards in reporting. Other cultural paradigms in media studies are needed to inform our practice for culturally diverse environments. This paper explores Western perspectives of dialogic and persuasive communication that are taught in the foundation year of media and communication tertiary study and compares them with the Islamic perspective, offering an insight into this untapped area. Unlike the traditional Western conceptual framework of dialogue and persuasion as separate entities that are potentially unethical, the Islamic perspective identifies both models as ethical and not mutually exclusive. One Anglo-based innovative study that applied quantum theory to communication on social media, argued for an interconnected relationship between dialogue and persuasion where the two can become entangled while existing in a state of superposition. It echoes the Islamic view except for the unethical potential and ambivalent application of either model. This preliminary study has implications for the practice of peace and conflict journalism, investigative journalism, and development journalism, which report on issues relating to Islam and the Muslim environments.


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