Terrorism Essay

Topics: Terrorism, Mass media, September 11 attacks Pages: 10 (3733 words) Published: March 7, 2015
LG122: Core Skills and Methods for International Relations Title: Media Oriented Terrorism: The Role of Media in Influencing Terrorist Attacks and the Shaping of Public Opinion Word Count 3,098
This essay will discuss the topic of media oriented terrorism with reference to the role of media in influencing terrorist attacks and the shaping of public opinion. The main argument of the essay will be that terrorist organizations use social media as means of conveying their ideological preferences with maximum exposure, while influencing public opinion. This issue is important as both provide the necessary resources enabling terror events to take place. Terrorist organizations provide the action for the terror event and the media relay this message to the wider audience. The events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent US and international response clearly demonstrated the need to understand the phenomenon of terrorism which has dramatically impacted the peace and stability of international affairs. The main contention of the essay will be as follows; firstly defining what is mean by terrorism and media while evaluating what influence terrorist organizations in using media and why the media relays their messages, Secondly looking at the historical use of media by terrorist groups through the research think tank RAND (Research and Development). The body of the essay will examine two organizations Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, making use of external state terrorism and hostage taking practises and Al-Qaeda with Religious terrorism and suicide-bombings. A specific case-study will be used to illustrate the use of media with 9/11. Finally this essay will look into Osama bin Laden’s video tape footage taken from his speeches on the aftermath of the US led invasion into Afghanistan this analysis will include the effects of the speech on public opinion. The main aim of this essay is to arrive at the conclusion that media and terrorism are intrinsically linked and need each other to function. While the use of media within terrorism has resulted in more violent attacks being placed to attain media exposure. ‘The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or organized group against people with the intention of intimating or coercing societies of government, often for ideological reasons [Is a form of terrorism].’ (Combs 2006, p.14) To prevent as far as possible a pejorative use of terrorism within the essay the previous definition will be used for legally operational definition applicable to terrorist acts, rather than to the individual groups in question. The concept of terrorism contains a few important components: a synthesis of war and theatre a dramatization of the most proscribed kind of violence on innocent victims played before an audience in the hope of creating a sense of fear for political or ideological reasons. (Jackson 2011, p.115) The term and concept is not a new phenomenon with the idea of achieving political action through violence going as far back as the Zealots of Judea and Ancient Islamic Assassins, though terror as a word and terrorism as a concept entered the western vocabulary during the French Reign of Terror 1793. (Weinberg 2005, p.41) Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre outlined the concept terror in order to gain democracy, ‘Terror is nothing but justice, prompt, service and inflexible, it is therefore an emancipation of virtue.’ (Combs 2006, p.4) The main influences for terrorist organizations use of media as a means of terrorism is outlined through gaining attention, spreading fear and recognition of its motives. (Awan 2007, p.389) The gaining of attention is strongly linked to agenda setting. Terrorists try to be in the media as often and as long as possible, so that the aims and objectives of the organization can become well known to the public. As they get attention people will be aware of the existence, methods, and targets of the group. (Schmid 2011, p.56) The main aim of...

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