Terrorism and the mass media

This latest report from UK think tank RUSI looks at the theory says about defining terrorism and the role of media.

Terrorism is commonly defined as a form of politically motivated violence and intimidation, which uses communication strategies to amplify its intended effect of causing terror. It employs a wide range of platforms, including so-called ‘traditional’ news media such as newspapers and television, as tools. However, the role of the mass media in the advancement of terrorism’s objectives is controversial, even within academic literature, as it is difficult to draw direct lines of causation due to the diversity of factors contributing to terrorism and the process of radicalisation. This paper synthesises the existing literature to explore what the theory says about the role of the media in this.

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