Terrorism and the Media, Communication Advances for Terrorists

Introduction: Critical Overview of the Reading

The chapter under the analysis is devoted to the major driving forces of modern terrorism, which include technology, communication, transportation, and weapon. Although there are some brief discussions of the last two factors, the emphasis is made on the first two. Since technology has fostered the development of communication, it would be fair to state that these aspects are intertwined and should not be separated. The author sticks to the position that present-day technologies enable terrorists to spread their ideas around the world without having to overcome the obstacles that existed before the appearance of television and the Internet (Dyson, 2011). Furthermore, mass communication helps terrorists induce fear in the population since the entire global community has a chance to observe their attacks online, immediately at the moment, at which they are happening.

While a lot of terrorists were illiterate even in the 20th century, their writing communication abilities were considerably restricted. Now, with the spread of various means of Internet communication, offering chat rooms and social networks visited by millions of people every day, any terrorist can communicate his/her message to the largest possible audience without any effort (Nacos, 2016). Such video and audio messages immediately go viral, thereby assisting terrorists in achieving their goal to spread fear. Furthermore, due to privacy policies, they can contact one another without undermining the confidentiality or security of their interactions.

I completely agree with the author of this handbook that mass media play a decisive role in the spread of terrorism today. Moreover, I believe that the choice of the type of coverage defined by the media contributes to the popularity of terrorism. This way, it turns out that we do their work for them without any evil intention. Since terroristic attacks cause panic, frustration, and anxiety, terrorists can abuse this general psychological background of the situation (Giroux, 2016). It is us who allow terrorists to pose threats to our hard-won democracy.

The public perception is largely determined by what style and language are used in attack reports. Saying in headlines that the entire government system is threatened by a terroristic attack means assisting terrorists in meeting their advertisement objectives (Kellner, 2015). The media must do their best to avoid extremist language that fuels public fear. To ensure an adequate perception on behalf of the global community, it is required to view terrorism as a risk rather than as a threat.

Significant Facts or Information Disclosed

The following facts can be deduced from the section under discussion:

  • The era of modern terrorism began with technological advances of the second half of the 20th century.
  • Terrorism is mostly influenced by the four major factors: technology, communication, transportation, and weapons.
  • While previously terrorists could only approach the global community through delayed communication, they now have a chance to address the public via live broadcasting.
  • The majority of attacks can be viewed online, which aggravates the fear of the general public.
  • Rapid and cheap worldwide communication has made it much easier for a terrorist to spread their ideas all around the world. Moreover, the privacy of their own interactions with one another is secure.
  • Due to technological advances, it has become possible for terrorists to get hold of secret government information, which makes it possible for them to use both the computer and the mass media as a weapon. Since computers currently regulate practically all activities, hacking a computer system may enable terrorists to deactivate water, electricity, and gas provision or program all city systems to misdirection and mismanagement.
  • Due to the appearance of mass media, it has become possible to commit a murder without approaching the victim.
  • The improvements of weapon technologies allowed terrorists to considerably extend killing practices.
  • The development of modern transportation systems has given terrorists the ability to escape without being recognized.

Conclusion

Although the information was not new to me, I must admit that the major revelation was the interconnection between these four factors, which I considered to be rather distinct and unrelated to one another. The author of the handbook made it clear to me that it is not enough to bomb cities with explosives. In the modern world defined by the development of computers, there is no support that could be obtained without giving certain guarantees of the result. Computer is exactly the tool that ensures improved integration of all other aspects involved and therefore increases chances for success of terroristic operations. Thus, I am convinced that dealing with terrorism today must begin with eliminating excessive opportunities presented by the mass media of today, making the major means of communication inconvenient and unattractive to terrorists and enhancing protection of online systems.

References

Dyson, W. E. (2011). Terrorism: An investigator’s handbook. London, UK: Routledge.

Giroux, H. A. (2016). Beyond the spectacle of terrorism: Global uncertainty and the challenge of the new media. London, UK: Routledge.

Kellner, D. (2015). Media spectacle and the crisis of democracy: Terrorism, war, and election battles. London, UK: Routledge.

Nacos, B. (2016). Mass-mediated terrorism: Mainstream and digital media in terrorism and counterterrorism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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