Our member Nicoleta Fotiade, President of Mediawize Society Romania an co-founder of IAME, contributes to the MindOverMedia project. She wrote an article about online propaganda, youth radicalisation and extreme violence. Read the complete article on the website www.mindovermediasite.wordpress.com.
Online Propaganda, Youth Radicalisation and Extreme Violence
It can be cool to be radical and post sensational video messages online. It can be cool to be provocative and make use of people’s strong emotions to move something your way. The more you attract attention, the more you mean something, it seems. For sure you will grow a reputation. At least online. It can be a way to grow your personal identity also.
But how much of this is just plain bravado and how much part of a growing tendency to go on the path of extreme violence? The exploitation of emotion is not something to be done lightly. In fact, this is exactly how Adolf Hitler gained his reputation and won elections: through carefully staged propaganda delivered with great pathos.
- Is it possible to prevent and/or counter violent extremism and radicalisation among youth with media campaigns that promote counter and alternative narratives to ISIS-type propaganda?
- Is online extreme propaganda the only reason for the youth radicalisation?
- What forms of radicalisation are we talking about and whose youth? It seems the Muslim youth are in the focus.
- What else contributes to youth radicalisation?
Some of these issues fueled a rich discussion at a two-day RAN Youth* meeting held in April this year at the Facebook headquarters in Madrid attended by young people, educators, media and communication experts.
The need to make a distinction between ‘preventing’ and ‘countering’ appeared very soon in our debates. While a media campaign may prevent, countering is a different issue. While a media campaign could inform youth about the context of radical acts and its dangers or it could raise awareness among non-radicalised youth, it is hard to believe that an awareness campaign could turn already radicalised youth into moderate people.
Radicalisation is about strong beliefs and ideals and it happens in particular political, social and cultural contexts. Countering radicalisation has to take all these into consideration to work.