VOX-Pol has been pleased to partner with Dr. Virginie Andre of Victoria University (Australia) and colleagues on a number of events, all of which address one or more aspects of terrorism and (new) media.
VOX-Pol’s Coordinator, Prof. Maura Conway, contributed to a conference on ‘Addressing the New Landscape of Terrorism: Towards Formulating Actionable Responses’ held in Bangkok on 24 – 27 July 2017, a report on which has just been released and can be accessed HERE. The latter focuses on key points and recommendations from the conference, mainly the genesis, transformation, and impact of ISIS, including its social media activity.
More recently, on 12 November 2018, a workshop on ‘Understanding the Impact of Media Terrorism Reporting: A Front Line Practitioner’s Perspective’ was held at Exit Sweden’s offices in Stockholm. VOX-Pol was pleased to sponsor a number of the contributors to that event.
A follow-up conference to the Bangkok event convened by Dr. Virginie Andre, that will also further pursue issues raised in the Stockholm workshop, will take place in Rabat, Morocco, on 22 – 24 April, 2019. The event is organised by Victoria University in partnership with the Policy Centre for the New South. The Rabat conference, entitled ‘The New Landscape of Terrorism: Applied Outcomes,’ will include a keynote address from VOX-Pol’s Advisory Board member Dr. Brigitte Nacos.
Similarly to VOX-Pol, the aim of all three events has been to help bridge the gap between grassroots and front line CVE practitioners, policy-makers, academics, and others professionally tasked in this area.
As highlighted at the Bangkok conference, country-specific context in understanding radicalisation and how to counter violent extremism is essential. Therefore, the conference in Rabat presents us with a unique opportunity to comprehend how much context matters. It will also allow to incorporate the northern African experiences in the fields of prevention and countering violent extremism and to enhance our understanding of the global phenomenon.
Dr. Andre explained that special focus will be given to understanding the notion of a conducive environment as it remains significant, and the impact of media terrorism reporting. The demise of ISIS presents an incredible opportunity to finally address the conducive environments, which require political action and comprehensive policies and reforms. The notion of social inclusion and community partnerships, for instance, are particularly important in reducing that conducive environment. Furthermore, the conference will also examine closely how media terrorism reporting affects communities as well as mainstream societies in understanding, interpreting and reacting to particular terrorist events. Media reporting of terrorist events can potentially undermine social cohesion, cause irreparable damages to communities, polarise societies and give rise and perpetuate discrimination, racism and violence. It may also act as an unwitting facilitator to inspire those who identify with ISIS ideology and indirectly enhance ISIS credibility and agency.