Mombasa, KENYA: When it comes to Terrorism many are times the media has found itself in compromising situations where they end up being seen as the ones supporting terrorists in disseminating their agenda.
What role exactly does the media play in fighting Terrorism?
Incidences of terrorism in the country, have so many times put the Kenyan media in trouble; all in the name of finding the scoop.
For instance the reporting of the Westgate 2013 Terror attack in Nairobi saw some of the Kenyan media houses blamed for lack of professionalism, after some even went ahead to publish graphic images of attack victims on national newspapers.
Gerald Mong’are Head of Communications at the National Counter Terrorism Centre NCTC, says the media, without extreme caution, can knowingly or otherwise act as a facilitator to terrorism, but can also be a major weapon against terror if used professionally.
Mong’are says at times the media does not report objectively and ends up creating more panic, glorifying the act of terror; this at the end comes out as aiding terror activities.
“As the media at times you might give free publicity to the terrorists without being objective and this leads to dissemination of false information to the public,” Said Mong’are.
On the other hand, Mong’are says media’s role in fighting terror is by providing objective stories that have facts that aid the government in establishing ways of curbing terrorism in the country.
“If the media acts objectively by confirming from the relevant authorities on various facts regarding a terror incident and also are careful to be sensitive to the victims of terrorism, then they play a positive role in fighting terror.” Added Mong’are.
Mong’a re added that the media also needs to ensure that the information shared with the public does not contribute to increased radicalization leading to violent extremism.
2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which is a unique global instrument that enhances national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism among member states.