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Important tool in fighting terrorism

Oct 08,2015 - Last updated at Oct 08,2015

The pan-Arab conference on the role of Arab media in combating terrorism, held in Amman, was a timely exercise in raising awareness and mobilising Arab media in the fight against extremism and terrorism.

The Arab media experts and officials who took part in the two-day conference agreed that using traditional and social media to counter terrorist groups’ campaigns and propaganda is as important as military strikes.

The role of the media, then, is crucial in spreading messages, a fact terrorist groups, including Daesh, are perfectly aware of, as demonstrated in their reach across the world through any available media outlet to spread their message of terror and draw attention to their criminal acts.

Aware of this, media experts and officials agree that it is fundamental to educate the public on social media usage, with a view to protecting people from the warped, pernicious ideology terrorists relentlessly promote.

As the Arab League assistant secretary general, and head of the media and communication section, pointed out, terrorists use the media to reach and mislead the public.

“Some do not even consider a terrorist act successful if it does not grab the attention of media,” the official said, stressing that media outlets could counter the spread of evil thoughts because they, in turn, are even better capable of influencing the masses.

As His Majesty King Abdullah repeatedly said, the fight against terrorists and their ideas requires a holistic approach, one that cannot depend on traditional military and political means alone.

The media can be just as powerful, if not more, as military strikes in the war against terrorists and extremists.

It is, after all in this case, a war of ideas in the first place. And it is a war in which the media, especially social media, can play a successful role and win.

 

That said, the media should be careful about how they present things. If not intelligently, honestly and objectively, they should know that they lose the trust of the public and can do more damage than good.

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