The media just can’t resist sensationalism. I believe that in specific situations they must show restraint. I’m not suggesting any form of censorship; I’m proposing they use common sense. The most recent and best examples are the beheadings by ISIS. They got exactly what they wanted. These televised scenes of ISIS beheadings gave aid to the terrorist group.
Terrorist groups want as much attention by the media as possible. By exhibiting inhumane actions they recruit more members, and they receive money for future attacks.
Executions are not allowed to be televised in the United States, but acts by terrorists are photographed and televised, and that is sadly acceptable. Intelligence must replace the importance of selling air time to advertisers.
When television was in its early years, a one-half hour segment was planned for the daily news, and it was enough. While news broadcasts sell more advertising space today than any other television show, in those early years they lost money. And in my opinion the news was far better. Knowledgeable reporters delivered the information, and allowed the viewer to render their own opinions. Today they are ‘news personalities;’ overpaid, and tell the viewers what to think. The most unfortunate fact is that what is reported is all too frequently a half-truth, or a story entirely manufactured by the network.
One important piece of information which is not reported clearly by the media concerns who is joining ISIS. The terrorist leaders are seeking Muslims from all over the world. They are specifically seeking Muslim scholars, judges, people with military, administrative, and service expertise, as well as doctors and engineers.
“In their minds, voluntary migration ensures that the society is religiously pure, but also politically loyal,” explains Firas Abi Ali, head of Middle East and North Africa Country Risk and Forecasting at the global security consultancy IHS. “It is worth remembering that the original Muslim community built by Mohammed in Medina was based on a mix of immigrants and locals. The immigrants, who had adopted Islam earlier, played a role in teaching Islam to the locals.”
And they are accomplishing their goals; Muslim men from all over the world are joining the forces of ISIS, and they are influenced by the internet and the depiction of mass murders and decapitation.
The estimate of the present number of ISIS fighters is 31,500; and it’s growing.
Muslims all over the world are finding it difficult to discourage young men from joining this radical group. The fact that Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other Muslim countries have declared that ISIS is not actually Muslim, and does not follow the teachings of Islam, the number of men who are leaving their communities is growing.
“It is scary no matter how you look at it,” says Humera Khan, executive Director of Muflehun, a Washington D.C.-based Muslim community organization that works to prevent radicalization.
Thousands of bombs and missiles can be used to attack ISIS, but if their numbers keep growing through recruitment, what will the damage truly be? Other than reporting the daily events to defeat a terrorist organization, dramatic and cruel acts should be left to the reporters and included in the full story. Allowing ISIS to use the visual media to further their cause is destructive and creates more danger in the region for those who must be there.