Media & Terrorism on Good Terms

Thanks to a very well-known European Scholarship programme that I was awarded for 2015-2016, I had been sent to Brussels to do a Master’s Degree on International Conflict and Security in a British university. I have written a thesis on struggle against terrorism through social-constructivism under the name of ‘An unseen dimension’. The script below is one of the best parts that I enjoyed thinking and writing. If you are interested in reading more of the actual dissertation, you can simply click on the link I provided at the bottom.

(In)advertent Service by the Media

The question of why, would be a kind of ascertaining whether there is a deliberate purpose in creating certain images in the media. It is rather the questions of how and to what end, are what might possibly give the insight that needs to be taken in this context.

‘‘The genuine power of terrorism is that it functions as propaganda. The result is

behavior modification of the target audience by both coercive and persuasive means. In effect, terrorism uses violence against one to obtain an effect upon others. The immediate victim(s) is/are merely an instrument or tool of communication’’ (Denton, 2004, p. 13). In other words, the target is not the target – namely, the casualties –, which is widely thought it would be. The actual targets are those who lived through and remained alive. Therefore, even the information that is delivered must be on the table to be discussed.

Yet again, it must be clarified that judging whether the information flow is served advertently or inadvertently is not what is questioned here. Rather, the existence of such an exhaustive information flow is what must be on the spotlight. Being informed is something beyond our desire, which is a Right of each and everyone of us. However, there is a significant paradoxical situation about this, which is not in front of our eyes to see. Even if we see, we might have no choice but to be trapped. Even the truest or the least defect information in any kind of media about terrorism, a terrorist attack or anything else related to this context would inevitably have an effect of disseminating the terror whether it is served on purpose or not. Doward (2015) reports some insightful comments of Michael Jetter, a professor and an analyst of terrorism, as follows: ‘‘terrorist organizations receive extensive media attention [. . .] Whether it is the Taliban, al-Qaida, Boko Haram or, recently, Isis, terrorism is everywhere on TV stations, newspapers and the radio. We also know that terrorists need media coverage to spread their message, create fear and recruit followers’’ (Doward, 2015).

Dissemination of their message and contributing their principal method of pumping out the fear in the air eventually help finding the ‘appropriate’ response that needs to be given to it. ‘‘Terrorist groups and the news media share a symbiotic relationship that furthers both the media and terrorists’ interests and goals. Terrorist acts provide countless news stories for the media. At the same time, terrorists exploit the media for both tactical and strategic purposes to mobilize support and gain public recognition’’ (Nagar, 2010, p. 534). Bearing all this in mind, to what end this circular production serves up is the question that needs to be critically thought about. Nevertheless, the answer might not be too hard to figure since it is one of the most significant parts of the process of the construction that leads to the final response given to the ‘terrorism’ eventually.

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