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Finding the Moral High Ground: The Unshackled as Defenders of ‘Truth’

Australian Journal of Islamic Studies - Volume 9, Issue 1 Special Issue


Immigration and border protection have consistently stood at the forefront of issues that divide Australians ideologically. The scholarly literature in this regard documents the role of conservative right-wing media in the formulation of anti-immigration rhetoric, particularly in relation to Muslim immigrants. This research builds on this literature, further exploring the role of ideology in shaping public perceptions. This study examines how an alternative news outlet – The Unshackled – reported on Islamic issues in 2019, the year prior to the COVID pandemic. While there is significant literature on media representations of Islam and Muslims, few studies have explored the relationship between alternative news outlets’ use of ‘free speech’ to spread anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric and Muslim immigration to Australia. By examining the coverage of Islam by The Unshackled, this article posits that, through the frame of free speech, the outlet gave voice and authority to unreliable commentators with anti-Islam, nativist views. This led to dissemination of information that lacked credibility and factual accuracy, reinforcing an image of Islam that contributes to negative sentiments regarding the religion and its followers, and further straining relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in Australia.


journalism, alternative media, far-right, Islamophobia, Facebook, Islam



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