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Terrorism Media in a minimum pages ( including title reference pages): Discuss broadcasting terrorist activities successes psychologically impacts individuals (e.g., victims, recovery teams, responders, general population).
Terrorism is one of the most discussed subjects in the last ten years. A terrorist attach that takes place in one place of the world usually captures the headlines in the next day's main newspapers and television broadcasts. This is largely due to the fact that terrorism is a phenomenon that can affect in an instant thousands of people and the futures of even more.
Given the importance of the subject, the media usually plays a key role in the relationship between terrorism and its target public. Through the media in particular terrorist activists send their message across to decision makers, to the public, and most importantly, through the immense coverage terrorism receives on all media channels, it has become an even more global phenomenon.
It is widely acknowledged the fact that the media has many functions, among which the role as a fast source of information. In most cases, politicians use it as reliable sources of data. The Persian Gulf War is considered to be the first representative situation in which applying the term "CNN war" is appropriate. The 1991 war acknowledged the power of CNN live media coverage. President Bush once affirmed that he, indeed, learned more from the CNN than from other means of information such as the CIA. Moreover, his Press Secretary observed that "in most of these kinds of international crises now, we virtually cut out the State Department and the desk officers…their reports are still important, but they don't get here in time for the basic decisions to be made" (Petrie, 1994, p236). A similar point is made by U.S. Army War College Research Fellow Lieutenant Colonel Frank J. Stech who argues that "satellite television is irrevocably altering the ways governments deal with each other; particularly during times of crisis…everyone is seeing the same thing" (CNN War, 1998). In this given situation CNN and CBC proved to be the means through which all the information became official and the data was available to all the segments of the public, be it military or the average tax payer. In a way, the media was allured to show the breach of the international law Saddam Hussein was accused of and eventually to create the state of legitimacy needed in order to begin a campaign against him. Thus, the UN dealing with the Iraqi crisis was given wide coverage and in certain cases there was a limited impartiality (CBC Archives, 1990).
The role of the media as communicator refers strictly to news. Regardless of their subject, once they reached the headlines such information become news stories. This publicity can be either negative or positive. For terrorist groups however, any publicity is positive because free publicity represents acknowledgement of the importance of events these groups organize. Any type of correspondence from one of the scenes of a terrorist attack represents an acknowledgement of the impact that terrorist group had on its targeted public.
One example of the role of the media in the last years is related to CNN when the terrorist message was the main attention of news broadcasters. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pointed out that "this is the first war that's been conducted in the 21st century with all the new media realities of 24-hour talk radio and Sony cams and digital cameras and news constantly on television" (U.S. Air Forces, 2006). The media has constantly shaped the opinions and views of the American public. Given the reticence of the public to constantly support the financial costs of the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was only natural that the media coverage of the terrorist activities and in particular the activities of the Al Qaeda to be the center of the news.
Another example of the role media plays is the Al Jazeera broadcaster. Since the war against terror started in 2001, the internet site of the television has always had a news title related to the al Qaeda, even if such headlines did not make the Western news networks. One example may be the wide coverage of the killing of "Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an Egyptian man described as al-Qaeda's "number three" official" (Al Jazeera, 2010) which took place at the end of May 2010. One week later, this story still covered the front page of the online section. Even if the subject is negative for the terrorist organization the continuous focus on this subject can also be considered a means through which terrorist messages are sent across.
Research on the way in which the media affects terrorist attacks has been conducted along the years; the results point out that "Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001" (Joyner, 2006). Such results appear to be normal as results of a cause -- effect relation. Thus, it can be considered in a pragmatic way to be part of the market principle of supply and demand. As long as the information the event sells, it should be repeated.
Terrorism is a phenomenon that affects not only the ones directly targeted but also rather an entire array of individuals. However, from this group, perhaps the most vulnerable, are children. Nowadays, in a world that is in constant move and where information is precious and one decision taken too late may cause significant loss, children are often disregarded and are no longer under constant surveillance from their families. This allows in a sense for children to develop under the influence of television as the most important means for entertaining among the medium income families. Without proper guidance on what to watch on television, children are often subjected to the general news that, when a terrorist attack takes place, provides information on the long run may influence negatively the child.
Children are most of the times the most fragile and impressionable group of the society. With this burst of technology, children can benefit from some of the most realistic and close-to-life video games. This aspect, as well as others referring to the direct broadcasting of violent or negative news, acts as a constant source of violent information that cannot benefit the personal development of the child.
It is rather difficult to point to measures that would reduce the risks of negatively influencing children. However, in most of the measures undertaking that apply to the media, they would, one way or another, limit certain rights of the media and of the broadcaster. More precisely, for instance, there are situations that imply an extremely violent act to be broadcasted on television, as part of the media to inform the population. Another justification for this would be, as stated above, the desires to have a winning result in the competition for ratings. However, the notice often mentioned in the news and in television activities concerning the violent content of the material is not often taken into account. Therefore, stronger action should be taken that would permit parents, to the extend they consider fit, to ban children from watching television or playing violent games.
Another important issue to be taken into account when discussing media and its role in broadcasting news related to terrorist acts is related to the idea that such news may influence the recovery process of the victims that have suffered traumas after a terrorist attach. Even so, an adult is entitled to have the right to choice. It may be that such patients need the psychological closure that relieving the moments of the attacks may provide. However, at the same time, the opposite may apply. There may be victims that may find it difficult to recuperate in the conditions in which the media is constant broadcasting events related to the particular drama.
Finally, another crucial aspect is related to the quality of journalism, regardless of the means through which they broadcast their message. Even if there is this cohabitation between the media coverage and the historical support, there is still the matter of the independence of the media as part of the improvement of this relationship. Most often, the media fails to report the news is an objective manner because it is, one way or another, dependent on a certain pole of power or influence (Mermis, n.d.) In response to such allegations, a number of respected media channels have adopted the format of "balanced coverage" which was visible even in the recent 2003 war. "Apprehending that coverage of events inevitably can have a point-of-view, editors and producers typically create news and commentary formats in which a single event is reported and interpreted by two opposing perspectives (...) Editors and producers can make a perfunctory nod toward the complexity of discovering the truth by showing contrasting- with "balanced"- points-of-view (Walon, n.s.). Thus, a more independent media would ensure a more correct…[continue]
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