[FoME] Review: Countering extremism through media

Christoph Dietz Christoph.Dietz at CAMECO.ORG
Di Mär 1 23:44:36 CET 2016

Countering violent extremism
through media and
communication strategies: A review of the evidence
By Kate Ferguson
Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research, 2016

>From the Executive Summary:

This report presents the analysis of a corpus of academic and grey
literature relevant to a key
challenge facing our society. How can media and communications be used
to counter identity-based
violence (IBV) or Violent Extremism (VE)?

Part I focuses on “Counter-Narratives”, looking at the evidence relating
to strategic policy
communication strategies and counter-propaganda techniques. This
reflects literature from
policymakers, think-tanks, and civil society initiatives rather than the
academic literature base.
Key findings include the following:
• Current literature and policy concerned with countering propaganda is
dominated by the language
of ‘counter-narratives’ but a common understanding of this relatively
new lexicon has yet to emerge.
• There is little hard evidence that proves interaction with VE content
leads to participation in VE
• The hypothesis that VE narratives or the real life threat of VE can be
countered by an alternative set
of communications is an assumption that remains unproven.
These findings challenge claims that responding to propaganda strategies
by firing back
with “counter-narratives” can be effective.

Part II looks at “Alternative Approaches” to the use of the media to
counter violent extremism,
drawing on insights from the “media development” and “media assistance”
sectors, and research
into whether mass media and new communication interventions can inhibit
identity-based violence
in certain crisis situations.
Key findings include the following:
• The theoretical foundations for these alternative approaches are
supported by a stronger and more
established research base, drawn from the multidisciplinary fields of
development, peace building,
and social cohesion.
• Media projects have less impact if seen to be linked to a political
• A growing evidence base suggests that radio and television drama
addressing issues of identity,
reconciliation and tolerance have a positive an impact on public
attitudes and behaviour.
• Media assistance can ensure that local and domestic media can respond
appropriately to VE
• There is an emerging evidence base regarding the potential for rapid
reaction media and
communication strategies in situations where there is a threat of IBV.
These findings suggest that alternative media strategies can help. But
the trust and credibility of
information providers is crucial.

Christoph Dietz
Postfach 10 21 04 
D-52021 Aachen, Germany
Tel.: 0049 - 241 - 70 13 12 14
Fax: 0049 - 241 - 70 13 12 33
christoph.dietz at cameco.org

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