Terrorism and the Media

Topics: Terrorism, Mass media, Hostage Pages: 5 (1635 words) Published: March 7, 2008
Terrorism and the Media
Terrorism has played a role affecting civilization for a hundred of years. The acts of violence have aims and objectives which intend on being achieved by the perpetrators themselves, or by the organizations that support these acts. With the aid of the present day media, acts of terrorism are now becoming designed to grasp the attention of the entire world and compel a terrorist organization's message into the spotlight for the whole world to look at. Reasons and purpose for attacks are often derived from the news so what better way for a terrorists organization to relay there message than the news. Most recently affecting the U.S were the events occurring on September 11th. People have interest in the events occurring all over the world, and the media will portray the message however they can. Within minutes of the first tower being struck, the devastation spread around the world, and was on every television channel for days. Around the world newspapers had front page news coverage of the attacks. The Twin Towers had been destroyed by an unknown enemy and its effects were broadcasted globally. The mass media are basically the spokesmen of the terrorists, the transmitters of information globally to a world audience. The September 11 attacks were designed for the media, and the achievement of the terrorists activities were announced for them to see through the misery and suffering of those affected by the attacks. Albert Bandura stated: "Terrorists try to exercise influence over targeted officials on nations through intimidation of the public and arousal of sympathy for the social and political causes they expose. Without widespread publicity, terrorist acts can achieve neither of these effects." (Bandura, Albert qtd. In Nacos 1). Terrorists need the news media to get the publicity, and the media is a willing to get their message across. The news media is a crucial component to terrorism. In knowing that, a set of standards should be issued so that a terrorist's ability to portray their message to a large audience during terrorist situations should be limited. The media point out mistakes without over emphasizing and give equal coverage to both sides of the issue. Terrorism is the use of violence against innocent's victim to bring about political change through fear. The relationship between terrorism and the media is symbiotic (Lockyer1). In 1980 the New York Times, printed a total of 916 articles on terrorist events. This means that terrorists were getting their message out nearly three times a day to the American public (Miller 60). Terrorists have usually used the media for four main reasons. The first reason is to have their message heard and to strike fear into their target group. The second is to win over the public's support for their cause, by highlighting themes like, the righteousness of their cause, and the assuredness of their victory. Third they use media to disrupt government and security responses. By suggesting that they are overreacting and their efforts are counterproductive. Finally, the fourth is to raise the moral of their current members, raise recruitment, and encourage more attacks (Alexander 30-31). Censorship of media's coverage of terrorist events is a solution to the new strong relationship between the media and terrorists. During many terrorist incidents the police do not want all the information released, in fear of the public's safety, and the security of their future actions. Swaying the public's belief in police forces dealing with the terrorist incident is a motive of terrorists. An example of the media needing restraint occurred on April 30, 1980, when a group of Arab secessionists captured the Iranian embassy in London. As the SWAT teams began to move in their biggest advantage was surprise. But, that was basically destroyed by a camera man from British Independent Television who got past the police barricade and broadcasted a live...
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