This study is based on an analysis of discourses on Islam in information programmes broadcasted between June 2003 and June 2004 on (1) Russia’s central, (2) Tatarstan’s, (3) Muslim TV channels.  The authors observe that on the pan-Russian channels, Islam appears mainly in reports on international conflicts.  There, despite of a predominantly neutral character, critical assessments of actions by Muslims occupy a significant part (10,8 percent) of the overall discourse on Islam. Russia’s central TV channels also focus on official aspects, the everyday life of the Muslim populations being poorly illustrated.  Tatarstan’s TV channels, on the contrary, keep a distance from international issues, concentrate on local events, and distinct themselves by a total lack of negative assessments on Islam or the Muslims.  The authors also deplore the lack of elements on the prevailing tolerance and on the quality of inter-confessional relations.  As to properly speaking Muslim TV channels, they foster on theological questions and avoid tackling social or political issues.  None of the three categories appear as a possible vector for the promotion of confessional tolerance.  In spite of its intrinsic interest, the present study has its scope limited by its rather narrow documental basis.  It is deplorable, in particular, that only state-sponsored TV channels have been selected in the sample.  No comparison has unfortunately been sketched with other, notably less official categories of media, nor between information and other programmes on the same TV channels.  As to the authors’ conclusions, they are limited to recommendation for a more positive representation of Islam, and for the promotion of tolerance.

Ilnur Minnullin, Institute of History, Kazan
CER: I-5.3.B-432