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Nister KabirMPhil (University of Queensland)

Completed 2014: PhD

Thesis Title:

New Zealand Media Constructions of Islam and Muslims: An analysis of selected newspapers between 2005-2006

Thesis Abstract:

This study investigates the representation of Islam and Muslims in three New Zealand newspapers—the Otago Daily Times (ODT), The Press (Press) and The New Zealand Herald (NZH)—in order to identify how Islam and Muslims are socially constructed in these newspapers' frames. The investigation includes news and non-news items. News coverage, which is primarily sourced from international news agencies, is supportive towards Western elite agendas when framing the issue. Discursive analysis shows that the news stories appearing in these newspapers maintain uniformity towards the dominant Western elite policy in framing Islam and Muslims' issues, and present a predominantly negative image of Islam and Muslims. However, a pluralistic frame is identified in these newspapers' opinion items, like their editorials. The ODT is primarily positive in its opinion pieces when discussing and constructing Islam and Muslims' issues. Similarly, a positive image of Islam and Muslims is predominant in the opinion pieces appearing in the NZH. In other words, the representation of opinion pieces appearing in the NZH, with a few exceptions, contradicts the international news frame. On the other hand, opinions appearing in the Press construct overwhelmingly negative images of Islam and Muslims. In other words, the negative stereotypical images of Islam and Muslims in the Press are reinforced in both news and opinion pieces.


Dr Michael Bourk

Professor Geoff Craig (University of Kent)

Professor Geoff Kearsley (University of Otago, Retired)

Personal information:

Shah Nister Kabir is a PhD candidate in the Department of Media, Film and Communication at the University of Otago. Earlier he completed MPhil in journalism, in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland, Australia. He taught in the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh from 1998 to 2005. He was a professional journalist in the print media in Bangladesh. His current research focuses upon media representations of religious and cultural issues, political cartoons and social identity with a focus on the Middle East.


• Political Islam, Democracy in Islam and the Question of Co-existence, International Conference on The Role of the Study of Islam in the Western Universities, University of Otago, New Zealand, Held on 6-8 July, 2008 (paper presented on July 7, 2009)

• Representation of French Muslim Minorities. International Conference on Migration, Citizenship and Intercultural Relations, November 19-20, 2009 at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

• Constructing terrorism in the Western news media: a case study of a local newspapers in New Zealand, paper presented on July 11, 2008, in the International Conference on Terrorism in the Digital Age, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Amman, Jordan, July 10-13, 2008.



• Shah Nister Kabir (2008). The Iraq War in Bangladeshi Newspapers. VDM, Aktiengesellschaft & Co., Saarüchen, Germany.

Referred Article (Published/accepted)

• Shah Nister Kabir (2014). “The Iran Nuclear Issue in New Zealand Newspapers”. European Journal of Economic and Political Studies

• Shah Nister Kabir & Michael Bourk (2012). “Representing Islam and Muslims in New Zealand Newspapers”. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 17(3).

• Shah Nister Kabir (2011). “Islam, Democracy and the Question of Co-existence”. Journal of Islam and Civilisational Renewal, 2(3).

• Shah Nister Kabir (2010). “Representation of French Muslim Minorities in a New Zealand Newspaper”. Journal of the South East Asia Research Centre for Communication and Humanities, 2(1).

• Shah Nister Kabir (2009). “Representation of the Hezbollah-Israel Conflict 2006: A Case Study of a Mainstream Newspaper Published in New Zealand”. Journal of Mass Communication, 4(1), Spring.

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