Kurdish Studies

ISSN: 2051-4883 | e-ISSN: 2051-4891
Email: editor@kurdishstudies.net

Media and Terrorism: The Ethical Challenges of A Symbiotic Relationship

Mohamed Kirat, Ph.D.
Keywords: sabotage, sensationalism, legitimacy, violence, terror, fear, publicity.


This article discusses the issue of the media coverage of terrorist’s acts. The relationship between media and terrorism has always been a problem of a heated debate. In the first place, there is a huge controversy about the definition of terrorism. Secondly the polemic is raised concerning the mutual exploitation of the terrorists and the media. The paper discusses the objectives and motives of terrorists to have their acts covered by the news media to gain publicity and access to local and internation public opinion. Form the other side, the media with their agenda and editorial policy frame the events focusing on profitability and competition. The paper argues that the media are looking in their coverage of terrorist acts for scoops, sensationalism, oddity under the pretext of the people’s right to know and freedom of the press and individual freedom. According to this logic terrorists get extensive coverage, become well publicized and get the privilege to be political actors on the same level as the government and state officials. The relationship between media and terrorism remains intricate, complex, and sensitive, subject to various considerations, most of which are unethical, relying on extortion and exploitation to access public opinion on one hand, while pursuing profit and fame on the other hand.

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