When can an act of violence, perpetrated by an individual or group properly be termed “terrorism”? This is a question passed over without due attention in everyday journalism. Jennifer Jane Hocking in her wok, noted, “Terrorism is a social construction, and once an action have been given that label, it becomes difficult to treat it in a value-neutral manner”. According to her, “Replete with implied moral opprobrium, a socially assigned value and meaning, an imputation of illegitimacy and outrage, ‘terrorism’ can never fit apparently value-neutral typologies much used in the social sciences… (Hockings 86). An apparent definition of terrorism that has been deemed serviceable for most purposes is the definition of the United Nations General Assembly:
Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes…whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be invoked to justify them (Koh 148).
The language of the media in reporting acts considered “terrorism” and terrorist organized actions is extremely important, as any language used will set the parameters for public discourse. Since the phraseology and terminology of the insurgent terrorist groups and government officials are generally at odds, the media is forced to adopt words or phrases, which will generally be an acceptable way to express the idea in the public forum. Therefore, by inducing the media to accept their nomenclature, terrorist organisation or the counter-terrorist group has already an important psychological victory.
Most studies into the relationship between terrorism and the media have focused on the response of the media to terrorist actions (Briggitte). The relationship between the mass media and terrorism have generally be agreed to be ‘symbiotic’, in that insurgent terrorist... [continues]
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