Around the world, terrorist activities have increased. Various terrorist groups have emerged, threatening the peace and security of many countries. The expansion and growth of social media and the internet have increased terrorist groups and activities. Terrorist organizations use the media to expand their operations and activities and to pass information to the general public to create fear. There is a need for the media to provide people with enough information related to terrorism whenever they arise.
Role of the media in the war on terror
Firstly, the media helps alert the general public on areas they are likely to face attacks from terrorists. Security agencies use the media to caution people on measures to avoid being attacked whenever there is a threat. Also, the security agencies can intervene and provide the necessary security to neutralize or prevent the attack from the terrorists on time. That will assist in preventing the loss of lives and properties of the people. On the other hand, the media has been accused of promoting terror activities. Terrorist groups use the media to spread propaganda and threats due to its accessibility (The newsmaker, 2022). Since most media compete with each other and are profit-driven, they allow terrorist groups to advance their agenda through the media. They are at liberty to advertise whatever narrative terrorists wish to promote. Additionally, since terrorism attracts significant attention from the public, the terrorists have adopted this strategy not only to make the victims suffer but also to attract large needed attention around the globe. Terrorists have understood the power of media and are now applying strategies to attract media attention to their activities (CNBC, 2016). With the expansion of internet connectivity, they know how to use technical equipment such as video cameras to create images that will help to create a massive impact through the media. Therefore, it is difficult for the government to prevent terrorist activities through the media.
Media providing information regarding terrorist organizations and operations
I believe the media need to provide US citizens with sufficient information regarding terrorist organizations and operations. Media is a very powerful tool for informing and updating the American people. Enough information will help the citizens prepare and know what actions and steps to take to remain safe. Media has a broad reach among the people; thus, it can inform US citizens about terrorist organizations and operations that are likely to occur in target places (Asongu et al., 2019). Through that information, the citizens can avoid visiting those places, relocate from the target places, take precautions, and know in advance what to do in case terror attacks occur.
The Jerusalem terror attack is the first event in the media that helped the masses to know the number of injured people. According to NBC News (2022), five Americans from the same New York family were reported to be injured due to the incident when a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a bus park). People were not only able to get vital information on time but also to know some of the places to avoid. Another instance is the 9/11 attacks, where the media was used to identify victims, conduct investigations into the attack, and helped to document the attack for future reference. Also, the media helped arrest seven people in June 2006 in Miami who were plotting to attack the Sear Tower in Chicago. It was found that the terrorist belonged to Al Qaeda. Through that information from the media, security operatives could take control of the situation and safeguard the citizens from the attack.
In conclusion, the media plays an integral role in the war on terrorism. Terrorist groups use the media to instill propaganda and fear among the people. Also, the government uses the media to inform and caution people on areas to avoid or which are prone to attacks. Therefore, there is a need for the press to provide the masses with enough information to prevent terrorist attacks.
Asongu, S. A., Orim, S. M. I., & Nting, R. T. (2019). Terrorism and social media: global evidence. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 22(3), 208-228.
CNBC. 2016, September 19. Social Media The Engine Of Terrorism | Power Lunch | CNBC [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id6vlsSfSJQ
NBC News. (2022, August 15). Five Americans Injured In Jerusalem Terror Attack [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkoIe3z_tfs
The newsmaker. (2022, July 29). Will new French social media law fight terrorism? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23ZgStNccY4