Media panic situations to terrorists through the information

Media And Terrorism

        There are several views on the role of media in relation to terrorism. Media

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sometimes are known as the main agent in transmitting messages to society on the danger of

terrorism. According to Mc Quail (1995), in certain conditions, media can help the

government dealing with terror issues by giving a negative label or name to terrorist groups

and generating some panic situations to terrorists through the information spread. Lowenthal

(1989) claims that without the collaboration of the media, terrorism would be impotent. By

dramatizing the terrorist threats and demands and by refusing to condemn them outright, the

media often contribute to the moral confusion which tends to romanticize the terrorist and

leave his victim forgotten.

 

         Despite all contributions made by the media in creating awareness of the danger of

terrorism which then leads to having a sense of hatred among society, media are said to be

able to give publicity as well as legitimacy to certain terrorist political agenda due to some

failures made by the government (Mc Quails, 1995). Researchers on terrorism believe that

one of the reasons of any terror acts or sabotage done by terrorists is for publicity or to attract

society’s attention. According to Simonsen & Spindlove (2000), the media give negative

effect on handling terrorism even though a government does some filtrations in selecting

information for neutralization purpose.

Based on this role, Winegar (2008) claims that all parties namely the government and

terrorists seemed to work hard to have a good relationship with the media. Should the media

refuse, they will experience harmful effects; the government may implement any hindrance

such as some strict filtrations of any information disseminated by the media while allowing

only information on terrorism provided by the government itself. Hence, Hashim (2009)

stresses out that media and terrorism related issues are always perceived from three aspects;

terrorists’ objectives on media, government’s objectives on media and media’s own

objectives on related incidents linked to terrorism.

 

Media Labelling On Islam

      

       According to Orbe & Harris (2008), after the September 11 incident, terrorist labeling

has been identified as Muslim fundamentalists or ‘Islamists’ which has increased some

prejudices, discriminations against and attacks on Muslims or Middle East. In fact, some

labels given are extremely outrageous such as ‘uncivilized’ and ‘barbaric’.

 

      Media labeling is not something segregated from the agenda of certain countries or an

opposing ideology. Peter Drucker (in Laqueur, 2002) a famous scholar in the US

management in his famous book that talks about “post-modern” world, once stressed out that

the next threats after the downfall of the Soviet on the development of capitalism are the

attacks made by suicide bombers which somehow directs towards Islam, because there are

many Muslim activities especially from targeted groups that apply suicide bombing method

as a revenge against discrimination made by the West over Muslims. Wright & Beliaev

(1991) claim that the relationship between religion and violence labeled in the media is, in

fact, not new. Some media label religion and terrorism with holy wars and inquisitions. The

words “assassin”, “zealot” and “thug” are used to project some fanatic groups within

respectively Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. Later, Wright and Beliaev addressed Muslim

terrorists as Muslim fanatics who involved i