This event presented findings on the dynamics and factors contributing to the impact of reporting on terrorism, including the significance of the relationship between police and the media.
RUSI’s year-long, two-phase ‘Terrorism and the Media’ project was an independent research effort funded by the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Specialist Operations Neil Basu, the UK’s Head of Counter-Terrorism Policing. The purpose of this project was to investigate and analyse the role that traditional mainstream media potentially plays in the impact of terrorism, such as amplifying levels of public fear or reproduction of propaganda, etc. While the first phase of the project focused on compiling the theoretical evidence base around the role of the media, the second phase focused on testing the assumption that media can contribute to impact, by concentrating on the specific context of the UK’s print media.
In this paper, produced from the second phase of the research, author Dr Jessica White of RUSI’s Terrorism and Conflict Research Group outlines the many dynamics and factors which contribute to how, what, why, where and when news outlets publish articles on terrorism – and how these dynamics and factors shape either the subsequent negative or positive impact of the reporting. The information relationship that exists between the police – as public security providers and the primary source of official information – and the media – as a primary conveyer of public information – emerged as an important dynamic.
This event features a discussion of findings and recommendations from this paper with some of the key figures representing both counter-terrorism policing and the media.
- Assistant Commissioner of Specialist Operations Neil Basu, Head of Counter-Terrorism Policing
- Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society of Editors
- Charlotte Dewar, Chief Executive of the Independent Press Standards Organisation
- Dr Jessica White, RUSI Research Fellow, Terrorism and Conflict Group
Moderated by: Dr Elisabeth Pearson, Lecturer, Cyber Threats Research Centre, Swansea University