Episode 11: The Importance of Communication to Terrorism and Counterterrorism

In Episode 11 of RUSI’s Decoding Counterterrorism, hosts Jessica White and Raffaello Pantucci are joined by Jared Shurin and Michael Jones to discuss the essential nature of communication to both terrorism itself and to efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and terrorism.

The fields of strategic communication and marketing have been developing a knowledge base for decades on the most effective techniques to reach the maximum number of people with messages that resonate enough to change attitudes and behaviours. Much can be learned from these fields about how to design and deliver the most effective, influential messaging to build social resilience to extremism.

There have been many efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism over the past 15 years that have used strategic communications ineffectively, and the evaluative evidence base remains weak. However, what are the lessons we can learn from older fields with good track records to refine and renew effective approaches to using communications to prevent terrorism?

Through the Looking Glass: Assessing the Evidence Base for P/CVE Communications
Assessing Communications-Based Activities to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism
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RUSI Journal
Preventive Communication: Emerging Lessons from Participative Approaches to Countering Violent Extremism in Kenya
Preventing Violent Extremism Through Media and Communications
Countering Violent Extremism Governance and Communications Strategy Paper, USAID and RUSI, August 2022

This research study explores the social networks and information flows of both violent extremism (VE) and countering violent extremism (CVE) and looks at localised understandings of related concepts across four Kenyan counties: Nairobi, Nyeri, Mombasa, and Kwale.

RUSI Journal
Beyond Prevention: The Role of Strategic Communications Across the Four Pillars of Counterterrorism Strategy


Dr Jessica White

Senior Research Fellow

Terrorism and Conflict

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Raffaello Pantucci

Senior Associate Fellow

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Jared Shurin

Strategy Director, M&C Saatchi

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Michael Jones

Research Fellow

Terrorism and Conflict

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