Working in the Media
The essential ruling concerning the media is permissibility. But, if a Muslim works in media in a non-Muslim country, he should consider some basics such as the content and presentation method and the outcome.
Working in the Media
The media profession;
Jobs in the media;
Working for satellite channels;
Working in the press, radio and television.
A Muslim living in a non-Muslim country may have a job in the press, radio, television or satellite channels as a journalist, announcer or presenter of a radio or television programme. Many of these channels may broadcast certain things that are forbidden in Islam.
Working in the media is permissible if it abides by proper Islamic controls. Such work may be subject to any of the five rulings: obligatory, encouraged, permissible, discouraged or forbidden, on the basis of the information being presented, the method of presentation, the consequences it leads to and the ultimate outcome. This is the view of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America as expressed in Decision 1-5. The Assembly outlined the following nine controls that must be upheld by Muslims working in the media:
Confirming that the information being published or broadcast is accurate and true and avoiding all rumours.
Displaying a commitment to truth and objectivity.
Observing Islamic behaviour and moral values when presenting information.
Respecting confidentiality. Nothing may be released without the permission of the person concerned unless its release is likely to bring about a clear benefit.
No information may be published or broadcast, even though it may be true and the person concerned agrees to its release, if such release leads to what Islam censures.
All information must be released by legitimate means and all illegitimate ways must be avoided.
A Muslim may not work for a media channel that is known to be hostile to Islam if his work helps it in its aggression and hostility.
A Muslim must not work for media that is devoted to what is forbidden in Islam, such as pornographic magazines and television.
A Muslim woman working in the media must abide by Islamic rulings that apply to women, such as the complying with the dress code, refraining from being in a situation that Islam forbids, always travelling with a close relative or keeping safe company. Her work should be in an area that suits her nature, etc.
In its original concept, the essential ruling concerning the media is permissibility. The media serves to transmit knowledge, ideas and behaviour. It contributes to a society’s way of thinking, its culture and morality. It also influences public opinion and the decisions taken in all areas of life. The media is also one of the most important means of advocating Islam, which Muslims should undertake at all times and in all places. As such the five rulings that apply to working in the media are based on the information presented, the method of presentation, the consequences it leads to and the ultimate outcome.
Decisions of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America.
Khalid Abd al-Qadir, Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah.