No Communication, No Terrorism ?

by whareisshe on April 25, 2017 - 1:02am

The main goal of terrorism is to intentionally create fear through the use of violence, in order to achieve a goal. Recently, there has been an increase in terrorist acts due to the fact that these terrorists are well aware that no matter where they perpetrate their act, the whole world is terrorized due to a widespread media coverage from the news outlets. If these acts are not reported in the media, they continue because they want to be heard and noticed. If they are reported, it sends the message that their terrorist acts are an effective way of terrorizing the population and affecting our society and this inspires other groups to do the same. This causes some to wonder whether or not there should be news coverage about terrorism and terrorist acts.

Should news outlets report on terrorist acts? According to Jamie Doward, the number of terrorist acts within the past 15 years has gone from 3,387 to 15,396 (2015). Thanks to the FREE media coverage these terrorist groups get, it is a lot easier from them to broadcast their messages and gain recruits. Adra Bilgen added a very interesting quote to his paper which stated “without the media’s coverage, the act’s impact is arguably wasted, remaining narrowly confined to the immediate victim(s) of the attack, rather than reaching the wider ‘target audience’ at whom the terrorists"(Bengil, 2012). Just with this small quote, it can be said that it suggest that without the coverage that terrorists wish to gain, there would be no terrorism. Terrorist seek to gain the eyes and ears of anyone and everyone they can get. Bengil also goes on to say that terrorists are not seeking to claim victims, however they want to gain an audience(2012). These terrorist groups NEED news coverage in order to get to a larger population. Bruce Schneier quoted another journalist who said that by writing and reporting on such acts is actually a harmful action because it produces fear and causes people to not think the whole situation properly.

In contrast some agree that news outlets should continue to report on terrorist acts. They should continue to broadcast these acts because it is important for the population to see what is going on outside their own "backyards". However, the media needs to learn how to project their stories, they should be able to give two sided stories, not just the "scary" facts that have people sitting on the edge of their chairs. The media continues to report sensationalistic reports. They constantly show the horrifying aspects of such acts, they also repeat the same information. They are delivering the same information by using different, vague words and by switching the word order (Bengil,2012). Also, if these attacks are not reported, these terrorists will continue to find ways a lot worse than they have already done so to get their message across. With or without the help of the media, such groups will find a way. Also, the media shouldn't lean heavily on these reports because somewhere else around the world, there is something worth reporting.

If we take a look at the deontology framework, it would support the act of broadcasting the terrorist acts because it is something that we are bound to do. The population has the right to know what is going on. The outcome of the reporting isn't much of a problem, because it's the action that matters. However, if we look at it from a teleological perspective, not reporting would be the best approach because it is heavily based on outcome and if the outcome of reporting such acts results in the gain a certain group, it wouldn't really fulfill the theological framework.  By not reporting such acts, it wouldn't make the terrorists group happy but it would provide the greater population with a sense of fearlessness.

If you take a look at the essay written by Bengil, he gives seven very important recommendations. Recommendations that can help the media report better understanding, double sided and a little less sensationalized reports. Although they are all important, there are four that really stand out; desecuritization, clarity, difference and objectivity (2012). Going into breaking each down would be too much, but they should really be considered when writing a report.

In conclusion, it is important that understand that there will always are consequences to reporting and not reporting terrorism through the media. Whether or not it is reported, one party will not be happy. Both parties will never come to a consensus or at least, we haven't seen one yet.  it is really the responsibility of the people to be able to decipher what information they are given and look for additional/supporting information. It is generally understood that in times of trouble, no one really stops to think of  a situation as a whole but with the bits and piece that is given to them. We cannot continue to blame the news outlets for reporting sensationalistic reports to us because at the end of the day, they are a "business" and whatever brings the rating/viewers also brings the money. It is also important to take into account what Bruce Schneier, "By refusing to be scared, by refusing to overreact, and by refusing to publicize terrorist attacks endlessly in the media, we limit the effectiveness of terrorist attacks (2005)".  All in all, if there is a side to be chose, it would for the media to continue reporting on terrorism because as previously stated, it is important to know what else is going on in the world, but also take in information responsibly. The media also has a role to play by providing newsworthy reportings.


Work Cited

Bilgen, Arda. "Terrorism and the Media: A Dangerous Symbiosis." E-International Relations. N.p., 22 July 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2017. <

Doward, Jamie. "Media coverage of terrorism 'leads to further violence'" The Observer. Guardian News and Media, 01 Aug. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.< violence>.

Schneier, Bruce. "Schneier on Security." Blog. N.p., 12 May 2005. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.<>.

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