Terrorism should not be allowed publicity
Should terrorist acts be allowed publicity through the internet, media, news services etc.?
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When the media make public films of terrorist attacks, it provides terrorism with the oxygen of publicity.
When the media make public hostage videos and films of terrorist attacks or their aftermath, it provides terrorism with the oxygen of publicity that it cannot live without. Unless civilian populations can be made aware of terrorist acts and cowed into fear by them, terrorism can never achieve its aims – denying terrorists such publicity is the one sure way to ensure their demands are not met, and that they do not succeed in bringing illegitimate public pressure to bear on governments. Terrorism is as much a battle for hearts and minds as for tactical success – without the media, terrorism can’t participate in this battle at all.
In reality, the ‘oxygen of publicity’ doesn’t provide this sort of weapon to terrorists. When terrorist acts are publicised, they usually result in public responses of condemnation, drops in support amongst groups sympathetic to the terrorists’ causes, and a strengthening of the spirit of public solidarity against terrorism (the same response arguably generated in WW2 by terror bombing against Britain and Germany). This is the response seen following bombings in Egypt (after which support for Osama Bin Laden in the Palestinian territories plummeted), hostage taking in Iraq (which has contributed to Iraqi religious and community leaders shifting their support from insurgency forces to Coalition troops) and IRA bombings in the UK. Terrorist publicity is bad publicity for them; in the battle for hearts and minds, the media is a weapon for us, not terrorists.
If you deny terrorists publicity, you prevent future terrorist attacks.
Following on from the first argument, if you deny terrorists publicity, not only do you prevent terrorism achieving its aims, you also prevent future terrorist attacks. Preventing media coverage makes terrorism as a strategy clearly impotent, so there will be no point in planning future terrorist attacks.
States have exercised a fairly effective policy of non-negotiation with terrorists in the past, but it has never led to a decline in terrorist attacks. Terrorism is often used by groups avowedly anti-rationalist in their beliefs, and continues to be used irrespective of the likely prospects of achieving its stated aims.
Terrorist attacks are specifically designed to be dramatic, bloody and terrifying.
Terrorist attacks are specifically designed to be dramatic, bloody and terrifying. Collectively, they play on the public’s mass psychology, which makes it vulnerable to crisis and dramatic one-off events that portray a much greater threat than actually exists. Publicity for terrorist attacks thus corrupts good decision making, by causing the public (and often politicians) to treat terrorism as a much greater danger than it is, and to license much greater infringements of civil liberties than it should actually justify.
Conclusions people draw from publicity about terrorist attacks may be legitimate indictments of their governments. Preventing media coverage of these is an attack on democratic accountability for which there is no justification. Governments may deserve to be pressurised for failing to put in place adequate security measures, or engaging in a foreign policy that may have made the nation less safe. Terrorism is a policy the government deserves to be held to account over as much as any other, and publicity is necessary for this to occur.
Terrorists use our own media to terrify our people and create a climate of fear.
The publicity that terrorist attacks get, and the dramatic, bloody, terrifying image that they create is repellent in its own right, using our own media to terrify our people and create a climate of fear. Furthermore, it serves to disrupt people’s daily lives by terrifying them away from certain activities (using public transport, air travel, travelling to certain countries, attending public meetings, etc.). This can also encourage a social backlash against ethnic, religious or political groups associated with the terrorists.
Attempting to prevent your public ever having to deal with the terrifying realities of events in the international world is doomed to failure. People always manage to find out about some aspect of terrorist attacks one way or the other, and fear is spread, not contained, when the public don’t feel the government is telling them the truth. In reality, people rarely change their behaviour as a result of fear generated by terrorism – use of the London underground revived rapidly after the July 7th Bombings, and use of air travel soon recovered from the impact of 9/11.
Successful terrorist attacks are used as recruiting tools by terrorist organisations.
Successful terrorist attacks are used as recruiting tools by terrorist organisations. Allowing them to be seen by the public enables them to be seen by potential sympathisers, who are thus more easily brought into the folds of terrorism themselves. This is particularly true when understanding the psychology of potential sympathisers, who are already deeply resentful towards the societies or states targeted by terrorism, and thus particularly vulnerable to persuasion by dramatic attacks and promises of vengeance or martyrdom.
Terrorist organisations are perfectly capable of spreading word of their attacks to potential sympathisers by other means. Instead, publicising terrorist attacks opens the possibility that members of the public with information (recognising a hostage taker, or a location, or an organisation) may come forward and help security services.
Censoring the media over the production of this kind of publicity demonstrates the non-negotiation line the government is taking.
Censoring the media over the production of this kind of publicity demonstrates the severity of the line of non-negotiation the government is taking. This uncompromising approach in itself is likely to rally public opinion in opposition to the terrorists. It can also further support a strengthening of the media, making them consider their responsibilities in the war on terror.
On the contrary, censorship often ends up having the reverse effect, seeming to demonstrate real fear of terrorists, and makes governments look weak and possibly ridiculous, rather than strong. Many declared this was the case with the British government’s attempts to deny the IRA legitimacy by banning broadcasting of the voice of Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein in the late 1980s and 1990s. Broadcasters simply hired actors to speak his words while showing film of him speaking. The pointlessness of the whole exercise actually ended up gaining Sinn Fein greater public attention.
Publicity creates a public forum for terrorist organizations.
When the media make public hostage videos and films of terrorist attacks or their aftermath, it provides terrorism with the oxygen of publicity which they desire. Unless civilian populations can be made aware of terrorist acts and cowed into fear by them, terrorism can never achieve its aims. Therefore, denying terrorists such publicity discourages focus on their demands ensuring they do not succeed in bringing illegitimate public pressure to bear on governments. Terrorism promotes fear in hearts and minds and without the media, terrorism cannot succeed. If you deny terrorists publicity, you prevent terrorism from achieving its goals. Reducing media coverage makes terrorism as a strategy much less successful, diminishing the purpose of future terrorist attacks. We do not want publicity to create a public forum for terrorist organizations.
Time and time again, all that has been censored, snuffed and made illicit has emerged with greater publicity than that which it was denied. Every revolution has begun with a persecution, everything from the recreational abuse/use of illicit drugs, weapons trafficking and distribution/making of all forms of pornography is a direct result of these things being tabooed. People have not been reasoned into rejecting these destructive things but denied them making them very attractive indeed.
If terrorist videos were blocked, terrorist hackers would surely find a way to bring them out and broadcast them in some other way. At least when we give terrorists a platform to state and spread their views, we can balk at their ideas and answer them with our rationale and a sound rejection of theirs. Stifling the brooding spiel of terrorism means denying ourselves the right to dialogue and choice.
Publicity serves as a tool for terrorist organizations.
Successful terrorist attacks repeatedly presented in the media can be seen by potential sympathisers who are easily attracted to and brought into the folds of terrorism. These disenchanted citizens are particularly vulnerable to persuasion illustrating dramatic attacks and promises of vengeance or martyrdom. Therefore publicity can serve as a recruiting tool for terrorist organizations which is clearly a harm.
When our media projects these attacks we make a special effort not to exaggerated their successes. If our media did not analyze attacks then the only information the general public would be getting on these attacks would be from their media channels through which they play up their victories with theatrical resonance.
Covering attacks gives us the power to criticize,evaluate and help counter these attacks.
Excessive publicity of terrorist acts corrupt good decision-making by placing undue focus upon terrorism.
Terrorist attacks are specifically designed to be dramatic, bloody and terrifying. And these images are repeatedly presented in the news. They play upon fear and often the events portray a much greater threat than may actually exist. This publicity can influence good decision -making, by causing the public and often politicians to treat terrorism as a much greater danger than it is. This fear can license much greater infringements of civil liberties than are actually justified. For instance, travel restrictions and security measures during travel and ethnic profiling have been influenced by threats of terrorism. Therefore excessive publicity may exaggerate fear and spur responses not always warranted.
It is the media that tells us bad policy is bad policy. The media is an information conduit, a passageway it is not meant to terrify the public but the lay facts and opinions down so that the public may arrive at it's own conclusions. Fact is if the news did not cover bombings, it will be accused of ignoring real tragedies/travesties. The suffering of terror-victims will dehumanize them and us. Stories of terror attacks and their aftermath send the message that terrorists are hypocrites if they believe that civilian deaths must be avenged with more civilian deaths. To not speak against terror is to ignore it (the greatest admission of fear).
Fear is derived from ignorance, we are afraid of the unknown, deliberately censoring information on terror and the (ensuing) mistrust of the media, is what creates irrational fear. The efficient low-bias coverage of events exposes us them in a nonthreatening manner. It is the responsibility of the media to ensure that where there is injustice, it will be exposed therefore answered in time with justice.
If the media did not police irrational policy decisions, security breaches and our depleting privacy we would not feel the need to protect ourselves from these or to voice our views against them, the views that the 'media' projects, again.
The media should reduce the public forum tool terrorists use for their purposes.
The media should reduce the public forum tool terrorists use for their purposes. Specifically, the reduction would include two components: #1 – limit the use of visual images to inform about terrorist events. #2 – limit the total amount of visual images occurring within a 24 hour news day. These two measures would reduce the public forum as a tool which terrorist organizations can use. Publicity would not become oxygen for their purposes. The spectacle and drama created by repetitive dramatic visual images would be reduced. Through language, the news can effectively convey information about terrorist attacks without withholding information.
With less glamorization, the excitement of appealing to the disenchanted is less likely to occur. Thus the possibilities of recruitment would be reduced. Fear of terrorists would not lead to over responses and poor decision making regarding the civil rights of citizens. The use of visual images in the public airways would lessen the contribution public media makes to the terrorists’ tool of publicity.
This begs the question, how much footage can be limited to give a clear picture of information the public trusts? If language were to take over more space then the responsibility of anchors to try and keep honest will be even greater than it is today.
The problem is not that people should not trust hard evidence such as photographs,videos and statistics, the issue is that people should not trust the language of politicians (George W Bush Junior calling the 'WAR on terror" the Crusades) and the those speaking for the media(eg FOX news anchor Bill O'Reilly). If anything the language of anchors and leaders should be limited and drowned out by the voice of the people and factual record in the form of footage.
The lack of extensive publicity would also reduce social unrest among citizens.
Often stereotypic images of terrorists portrayed over and over begin to influence the broader society. When terrorists represent a certain religion or nationality, other citizens of a similar religion or nationality are then also stereotyped and often marginalized. Stereotyping leads to prejudice and social tension between citizens becomes an unintended but real consequence . As an example, after 9/ll, attitudes toward certain groups of U.S. citizens was greatly influenced due to stereotyping about terrorists. Many negative consequences have occurred from profiling to acts of racism. With the reduction of images, the tendency to promote stereotypes and the fear of others will reduce social unrest among citizens.
The reason people are racist, paranoid or otherwise consumed with irrational fear is not that they see bombings and blame them on the perpetrators of these bombings. It is media anchors that need to be less dramatic with their descriptions of travesties and more sympathic with victims and their stories, it is the anchors of the mass media that need to stop putting racial/national labels on terrorism. But the reason that the mass-media is the 'mass'-media is because of these dramatic plays with people's fears and sensitivities. So it is really public that feeds the deliverence of disinformation by paying more attention to it.
People who are racist, are racist without the news media's help. It is usually because they are not used to meeting or being around people of different races or that they have had bad experiences with a/several people of that race and have tried to ignore those experiences and rationalize their negarive feelings stemming from the very experiences they ignore by being biased towards entire racial groups. Any negative imagery by the media only serves to trigger these feelings and is not their root cause. And if the media does not trigger them, in time something else will.
The oxygen of publicity is a good way to expose terrorism.
When terrorist acts are publicised, they likely to result in public responses of condemnation and the withdrawal of support from groups sympathetic to the terrorists’ causes. These messages can even strengthen the spirit of public solidarity against terrorism. There are many examples which can support this claim. Such as the response generated in WW2 by terror bombing against Britain and Germany. Following bombings in Egypt, support for Osama Bin Laden in the Palestinian territories plummeted. Hostage taking in Iraq contributed to Iraqi religious and community leaders shifting their support from insurgency forces to Coalition troops. Ultimately, publicity is bad for terrorists. The media is a weapon for shedding light on the horrors of terrorism and exposing their actions to all publics.
This works either which way, is condemnation a good thing or does it fuel the fire of right-wing fundamentalism? Are sympathies disolved? If so are sympathies for valuable causes involving massive massive human rights' breaches disolved because terrorists claim that they are their cause? Exposing terrorism as terrorism is one thing but attaching the Palestine-Israel issue greatly and gravely undermines the Palestinian side of the conflict. The stress on how dangerous terrorism is leads to mock executions via waterboarding and other interrogation techniques, extraterritorial rendition, extradition and other means to violate international human rights' legislation.
What is required is not that the media be given a freehand to condemn terrorism's supposed causes but be responsible for being as objective as plausible without damaging the weight of real issues: Demonizing the defense of human rights is not the right way to go. The media today is a machine that proliferates fear at an alarming rate and as such is a tool for terrorism in all it's forms be it by governments, terrorist orgs or political parties.
States do not negotiate with terrorists due to public pressure.
This has become a long established policy and states have exercised a fairly effective policy of non-negotiation with terrorists in the past. Even though individual citizens may be influenced in their thinking about terrorism and popular opinion may be heard, governments are not at all likely to negotiate with terrorists because of the broader consequences of such action. Negotiation due to public opinion would only reinforce terrorist organizations to continue their reign of terror. States do not and should not negotiate with terrorists.
Citizens and the world community have a right to be informed.
Conclusions people draw from publicity about terrorist attacks may be legitimate indictments of their governments. Preventing media coverage of these is a threat to democratic accountability for which there is no justification. Governments may need to be pressured for failing to put in place adequate security measures or engaging in a foreign policy that may have put a nation at risk. The government is responsible and should be held to account for its response to terrorist organizations. Publicity is necessary for this to occur.
Additionally, information cannot be contained in today’s world. Attempting to prevent the public from having to deal with the terrifying realities of terrorist events is doomed to failure. People always manage to find out about some aspect of terrorist attacks one way or the other. Fear is more likely to spread when the public doesn’t believe the government is telling them the truth. And information does not necessarily bring about change. People do not necessarily change their behaviour as a result of terrorist activities. As an, example use of the London underground revived rapidly after the July 7th Bombings, and use of air travel soon recovered from the impact of 9/11. The public has a right to information and will obtain that information. Attempting to monitor that information is impossible and inappropriate.
But the right to be informed, has become more and more the right to be disillusioned. The mass-media's goals are not to deliver objective information to the public but to raise ratings, get funds and to fund political rallies, nowhere is this truer than in/for the USA.
The media's claim to deliver information in its full unadulterated form is inherently false. Information that is delivered by the news is generally useless, aims to arouse intense emotions and thus cement viewer loyalty and does nothing to serve the purpose that the deliverance of information should. To clarify that last point, information has it's uses, knowing that an unpredictable suicide bombing happened somewhere in Israel does not really help anyone with their own lives. Knowing that terror attacks are generally unpredictable does not help anyone, just as knowing that earthquakes,floods, cyclones etc are sweeping millions of people to their deaths does not really help anyone. Flood relief efforts are about picking up the pieces, perhaps the media should stress on the aftermath of disasters such as Katrina, what can be done to help rebuild infrastructure, what is needed and so on but the news centers on problems not solutions or real causes(such as the racist policy that led to the extensive devastation caused by the Katrina, that could be averted)[[http://goo.gl/wa4ZY]] [[http://goo.gl/q1r3Q]]
"The public has a right to information and will obtain that information. Attempting to monitor that information is impossible and inappropriate." not attempting to monitor that information is irresponsible and leads to tragic consequences, the negative impact of the July 7th bombings is that racism against Asians and the voice of those slamming immigrants has been exacerbated even though the perpetrators of the attack were not immigrants but First&Second-generation British citizens. Crimes against and by Racial minorities is on the surge, consider the recent London riots. 9/11 too has had it's adverse consequences the fate of the people of Gaza hangs in the balance, Al-Qaeda as an organisation has expanded its borders/reach from Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world stretching out to the geographical extremes of Uzbekistan and Somalia, and that is discounting home-bred terrorism in UK, USA, Australia etc. The claim that no damage has been done because people sit in planes (there are statistically more fatal carjackings/accidents than fatal plane-crashes/hijackings) or offices is naive at best.
Recruitment occurs through various other channels than through public news sources.
Terrorist organisations are perfectly capable of spreading word of their attacks to potential sympathisers by other means. These methods of recruitment are more effective than dependence on how the media may portray terrorist purposes and actions. The rise of extremist groups is often equated with these various other forms of media capabilities such as websites and personal messaging which are much more effective in presenting persuasive messages.
Instead, publicising terrorist attacks can actually provide the public with information which may assist in national security. Airports continually asks the public to be involved in awareness of their surroundings. Information about terrorism strengthens the value of these requests. There is no clear relationship between publicity about terrorism serving significant recruitment purposes and instead we can see how information may better prepare the public against terrorist activities.
What gave those channels birth?
If 9/11 with a death-toll of less than three thousand people (less than 1/10th of the collateral damage caused by the war on Iraq) was not flaunted as a greatest act of terrorism in history and a video showing Palestinians celebrating had not been accidentally leaked by CNN, Al-Queda would not get half the attention it has garnered today.
It is the news media that turned Al-Queda into a celebrity terrorist group.
Censorship of news can have a boomerang effect.
Although censorship may be seen as serving a good, the opposite effect could occur. Some declared this the case with the British government’s attempts to deny the IRA legitimacy by banning broadcasting of the voice of Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein in the late 1980s and 1990s. Broadcasters simply hired actors to speak his words while showing film of him speaking. The pointlessness of the whole exercise actually ended up gaining Sinn Fein greater public attention. The media sees their responsibility to fully inform the public and will work to serve that purpose. Whatever measures may be put in place, censoring brings untold problems of how and what will be censored .who will censor, and to what degree will censoring influence the flow of information within a free society. Concerned citizens will continue to seek information. The action of censorship has great possibilities of having the opposite effect for which it was intended.
The news is already censored in great part. It is only a fragment of piles of information that can be fit into one hour everyday. The objective is not to censor news but to deliver it responsibly, objectively and in as unbiased a form as it can be delivered in.
What do you think?