How Terrorist Organization Exploit Media Coverage Essay

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Terrorist organizations use a variety of ways to promote their propaganda and strike
fear into the society. Among one of the most effective avenues that terrorist organizations use
to promote their cause and strike terror across the globe is use of media. Immediately, one
would ask, “wouldn’t success for terrorist organizations be based on the amount of casualties
that their mission generated as opposed to media coverage? Actually, the reverse is true,
terrorists and their organizations thrive on the media coverage that their operations generates
because of the ‘benefits’ that are associated with it. Moreover, Hoffman asserts that, all
terrorists share one trait: Each group wants “maximum publicity to be generated by its
actions.” Terrorists aim to inflict a psychological effect on the audience who are watching
their atrocities through various media outputs. As Wilkinson mentions, “for terrorism by its
very nature is a psychological weapon which depends upon communicating a threat to a
wider society. This, in essence, is why terrorism and the media enjoy a symbolic
relationship.” This essay will argue that media coverage enables terrorist organizations to
thrive on the attention that it generates which allow these organizations to fuel their motives
(striking fear into societies), and because most of the media coverage occurs in Western
democracies through both private and public media, it is hard to prevent that from happening
unlike authoritarian regimes that might use censorship to restrict what media channels can or
cannot broadcast. Another important element that one needs to note that, for both private and
public media channels in Western democracies, ultimately what they want is to broadcast

... middle of paper ...

...ight now is dominated by capitalism. Thus, for
the media conglomerates that control various media outputs, they are not concerned with the
ethical considerations on the impact that their coverage might have on the society, rather,
they are only concerned by the viewership, and revenue that their coverage generates. Thus, it
is vital that the society does not fall into the trap that terrorists have laid out through the
media, some will succeed, and some will fail. However, until some other solution is found in
the near future, the only way to prevent falling into the above mentioned trap is to exercise
vigilance and apply critical thinking when one is exposed to terrorist events through the
various media outputs. Furthermore, as Michael Ignatieff concludes: “He has, however,
forgotten that the choice always remain ours, not his.

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