# Terrorismo

“International Terrorism and Electronic Media –Operation and Regulation of TV News Channels During Coverage Terrorism Part II

2.0-International Terrorism and Media in General-


To summarise briefly on the symbiotic nature of the relationship between terrorists and the media, the recent history of terrorism in many democratic countries vividly demonstrates that terrorists do thrive on the oxygen of publicity, and it is foolish to deny this. This does not mean that the established democratic media share the values

of the terrorists. It does demonstrate, however, that the free media in an open society are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation by ruthless terrorist organisations. In using TV, radio and the print media the terrorists generally have four main objectives:

1) To convey the propaganda of the deed and to create extreme fear  among their target group/S;

2) To mobilise wider support for their cause among the general population, and international opinion by emphasising such themes as righteousness of their cause and the inevitability of their victory;

3) To frustrate and disrupt the response of the government and security forces, for example by suggesting that all their practical antiterrorist measures are inherently tyrannical and counterproductive;and

4) To mobilise, incite and boost their constituency of actual and potential supporters and in so doing to increase recruitment, raise more funds and inspire further attacks.

3.0-Litreture Review-

The researcher has examined and read number of books, journals and magazines in order to design the framework of this paper. Terrorism is a wide issue and can not be gven a stable definition. However keeping the opinion of majority of critics, governments and journalists there is conclusion on the definition of terrorism. The definition which is proposed by countries like U.S.A and west has widely been accepted. Also true is the opinion that ethnic identical crisis has forced Islam to act in a way which is widely considered as terrorist activities. Even then there are various shades of terrorism. A particular religion always can not be figured out as a religion of terrorist. There has been other ethnic and religious groups which are involved in terrorist activities and there is a complete list of such groups and organizations.

Similarly media professionals and the media in general have paid a heavy toll to terrorism in recent years. Dozens of journalists in Algeria, the Balkans, Colombia, Spain, the Philippines and elsewhere have been intimidated, kidnapped and assassinated so that they could be silenced.

In order to reach out on a conclusion on this paper,researcher has gone through number of books related to terrorism and media, has examined significant number of journals which deals with core issue of terrorism and its coverage by media, apart from continuous tracking of channels like BBC,CNN,CNN-IBN and Aaj Tak and website associated with the issue,and then he proposes the above said Ph D proposal.

Apart from books ,researcher has also examined previously done researches on this area and found that issue of terrorism has been dealt in may researches but the regulation of media on issue of coverage of terrorism has not been worked upon. Hence researcher proposed the above said study in this paper.

3.1-Purpose of Review –

To gain a background knowledge of the research topic.

To identify the concepts relating to it, potential relationships between previous researches and to formulate researchable hypothesis.

To identify appropriate methodology, research design, methods of measuring concepts and techniques of analysis.

To identify data sources used by other researchers.

To learn how others structured their reports.

4.0.-Research Methodology—

4.1-Descriptive research-

In this paper researcher has done descriptive research by analyzing the status of terrorism in contemporary scenario. Not to say that last twenty years has been the most disastrous years of human civilization. Before the Al Qaeda’s lethal attack on world trade centre European and South Asian countries were fighting with domestic terrorism. And so were the challenges before broadcast media Like in case of Britain. Television journalism in Britain has faced a particular problem in reporting «the Irish Question» since the Republican movement has adopted a dual strategy using both the ballot box and the bullet, pursuing its claim for the ultimate reunification of Ireland electorally, through the legal political party, Sinn Fein, and militarily, through the campaign waged by the illegal Irish Republican Army. Added to which, the British state’s response has been ambiguous. Ostensibly, as Prime Minister Thatcher argued in 1990, although «they are at war with us» «we can only fight them with the civil law.

India has also been fighting with its core problem Terrorism since its independence.But most affected years has been after 1980 when Khalistan issue came in picture and then the issue of north east, LTTE and Kashmir insurgency. TV Media has reported on these issues extensively .Some time with sensitivity and some time it crossed the set boudries.

The researcher will go in all details while dealing with issue by applying descriptive research methodology.

4.2-Analytical research—

Television’s ability to strike the balance is not just a question for news, current affairs and documentary production however. The images and accounts of terrorism offered by televsion fiction and entertainment are also important in orchestrating the continual contest between the discourse of government and the state, the discourses of legitimated opposition groups, and the discourses of insurgent movements. This struggle is not simply for visibility–to be seen and heard. It is also for credibility–to have one’s views discussed seriously and one’s case examined with care. The communicative weapons in this battle are unevenly distributed however.

News is a relatively closed form of television programming. It priviledges the views of spokespeople for governments and state agencies and generally organises stories to converge around officially sanctioned resolutions.

The paper examines all the facts available so far. The details from specific TV Channels will be collected to go thorough the text of coverage of terrorism, discussion on this issue which has been conducted in studios, and examination of footage available in video library of TV channels. On the same pattern guidelines, datas and facts of regulatory bodies will be studied in order to reach out on a conclusion on how they have performed so far.

4.3-Quantitative research—

Television in a democratic society requires the greatest possible diversity of open programme forms if it is to address the issues raised by terrorism in the complexity they merit. Whether the emerging forces of technological change, in production and reception, channel proliferation, increased competition for audiences and transnational distribution, will advance or block this ideal is a question well worth examining.

In the proposed research, researcher has examined the acts of terror in major countries specially in India. The data’s are collected from media TV channels, regulatory bodies and govt agencies to analyze the number,places and intensity and loss in these acts of terror. The study also involves an statistical analysis of operation of specified TV channels while coverage of it.Statistics reveals on what percentage of total coverage was given to terrorism and how the mood of public was examined.It further reveal the change in the mood of news producers while reflecting on terrorism.

4.4-Qualitative research–

After 26/11 in India when a group of  ten terrorists enterd in Mumbai and seized India’s financial capital for 59 hrs. , a  debate started on the role of media .The war against Terror  as it was broadcasted on CNN-IBN ,which launched a  campaign against terror extended in to a form of debate across the country. Different media channels broadcasted it and International Media too came to support the domestic media. Since American and other foreigner were killed in this terror attack and  terrorists targeted  symbol of India’s prosperity, Hotel Taj and  Hotel Oberai , henceforth entire event was called India’s 9/11 by media channels. And almost like 9/11  International community came in support. America asked Pakistan ,where from the terrorist came down, to act on terror . And Pakistan did some excercises on  LeT  and its front organization Jamat –ud. Dawa. The entire coverage by media channels kept viewers informed about day to day activity.

The September 11 events in the US have been a profound test of the professionalism of

journalists worldwide and, apart from the inevitable banalities and some bizarre

exceptions, coverage appears to have been restrained, intelligent and informed.

However, there have been numerous attempts to manipulate the media message by

governments creating undue pressure on journalists that is potentially damaging to the

quality of coverage of the conflict.

By applying qualitative research methodology researcher intend to examine the post 9/11 and post 26/11 phenomenon and due coverage of terrorism by TV channels .The study w deals in detail, about the shift in coverage of terrorism and regulations followed by TV channels in this issue. Role of regulatory bodies will also be examined in detail. This methodology  helps researcher on studying, how effective and intensified has been the coverage of terrorism after these two major events of terrorism

4.5-Conceptual research—

The US news media, battered for 25 years by declining credibility, appear to have regained respect among readers and viewers – at least temporarily – after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Since India has a long history of facing terrorist threats and acts, as they are perceived, in Kashmir and other parts of the country, there is a general climate of understanding over the need for counter terrorism in the country, but journalists have joined a wide-ranging coalition of groups that have protested strongly over recent changes to law that threaten Civil liberties. The National Union of Journalists (India) and the Indian Journalists Union report that by and large, media coverage of attacks on New York and Washington was professional and unbiased although a section of the media did try to focus attention on Islamic fundamentalism presumably with a view to equate the terrorist attacks on the US with terrorism India. However, to many the «global campaign» has begun to appear as a selective and brutal military campaign to secure the global strategic interests of the West, particularly the US and Britain. Media can play a major role in trying to ensure that the focus of the campaign remains on terrorism and diplomatic ways to resolve the problems. The researcher develops a study and guideline for broadcast media by applying this research methodology which may guide broadcast media while coverage of issue of terrorism. The research is based on current guidelines and regulation by existing organizations. The research also gives a conceptual framework to the issue of terrorism and its coverage by broadcast media

5.0-Data Analysis and Findings-

The researcher analyzes the data from various sources, which includes—

Books and Journals

Electronic Databases

Bibliographic Databases

Abstract Databases

Full-Text Databases

Govt. and Industry Reports


Research Dissertations / Thesis

Reports of Regulatory bodies

Tracking of selected TV channels.

The finding suggests that there is a clear divide of opinion among selected channels on the defining terrorism.

Project for Excellence in Journalism weekly reports shows the number of hours allotted to terrorism coverage on channels like CNN and BBC has remarkably gone up in post 9/11 coverage.

Study suggests that post 9/11 coverage and President Bush war on terror have been widely received by viewers of BBC and CNN.

The context of the corporation’s structure: The BBC is publicly financed and is the UK’smost visible medium in the world. BBC World is part of the corporation’s commercial arm but benefits from the BBC’s high credibility. The BBC’s journalistic and ethical standards and the level of independence from government and political parties are unique – and common sense. Even Conservative politicians, who in general want more competition, helped to preserve the BBC’s status in the diminishing field of public service broadcasting. The late 1990s brought a moderate deregulation and the duopoly of the BBC and ITV / Channel 4. CNN, once owned privately by Ted Turner and now part of Time Warner, is now only one of several leading news channels in the US, but was the first of its kind. (ref.: Georgina Born, Scott Collins, Jutta Hammann, Lucy Küng-Shankleman, Sidney Pike, Hank Whittemore etc.

In the case of India terrorism coverage has been widely acknowledged by viewers of CNN-IBN and Aaj Tak.

Post 26/11 discussions have got wide response.

In the exercise of getting exclusive and breaking these channels has overflooded with the news and programs based on the coverage of terrorism.

Regulatory bodies have not been able efficiently to mar this over flooded information, and due to lack of proper guidelines some time wrong information is also displayed on these channels.

Regulatory bodies have set some norms which must be appraised but study suggests that strict guidelines are needed, through which a standard format may be applied universally to portray news and program related to terrorism and so no one can blame about misinformation or glamorization of content.

Study clearly does not contradict with existing guidelines but put forward some suggestions in order to achieve the objective. Researcher has monitored these four international channels(BBC,CNN-IBN,CNN and Aaj Tak) for almost one decade in order to achieve designated perception.

The option on media policy on terrorism coverage, and the approach most favoured by the more responsible mass media organisations, is voluntary self-restraint to try to avoid the dangers of manipulation and exploitation by terrorist groups. Many major media

organisations have adopted guidelines for their staff with the aim of helping to prevent the more obvious pitfalls. For example, CBS News’ guidelines commit the organisation to ‘thoughtful, conscientious care and restraint’ in its coverage of terrorism, avoiding giving ‘an excessive platform for the terrorist/kidnapper..’ ‘.. no live coverage of the terrorist/kidnapper’ (though live on-the-spot reporting by CBS News reporters is not limited thereby), avoiding interference with the authorities’ communications (e.g. telephone lines), using expert advisers in hostage situations to help avoid questions or reports that ‘might tend to exacerbate the situation’, obeying ‘all police instructions’ (but reporting to their superiors any instructions that seem to be intended to massage or suppress the news) and attempting to achieve such overall balance as to length’ that ‘the (terrorist) story does not unduly crowd out other important news of the hour/day’.

The above guidelines are for the most part entirely laudable, and, if properly and consistently implemented, they would help to avoid the worst excesses of media coverage of terrorism. However, one needs to bear in rnind that many of those who work in mass media organisations appear blissfully unaware of any guidelines on terrorism news coverage. There is very little evidence of necessary briefing and training of editors and journalists in this sensitive area, and no evidence of any serious effort by media organisations to enforce their own guidelines.22. It is governments, frustration over the apparent inadequacy of media self-restraints that leads some to advocate some form of statutory regulation. If the mass media genuinely wish to exercise due care and responsibility in covering the exceedingly sensitive subject of terrorism, in situations where lives may well be at grave risk, they will need to work harder at devising measures of selfrestraint that are both appropriate and effective.

This study analyzes the concept of “objectivity” as it applies to the role played by the global satellite television channels CNN and the BBC in covering major news events within and outside the Western World that also incudes its operation in India. The literature review and a critical analysis are intended to show how theroles of CNN and the BBC are changing while dealing with issue of coverage of terrorism.Researcher has  planned to include BBC,CNN as international representative channels in this paper while he examined CNN-IBN a counterpart arm of CNN and TV 18 in India and India’s most prominent hindi channel Aaj Tak.The plan to start the paper with historical research on international terrorism, a brief description and comparison of the structure, history, ownership and finances of the networks, continues with the description of operation of these networks while covering the issue of terrorism with analytical study of dependent and independent variable, highlights the environment and culture among the journalist on the issue of terrorism and their dealing with the guidelines of regulatory bodies,and analyzes the role, image and impact of CNN,BBC,CNN-IBN and Aaj Tak on the public sphere and  mobilization,their viewing perception on terrorism related news and programs and then studies the detail in shift while dealing with the issue of coverage of terrorism through the help dependent and independent variables.It refers to everyday practice and the theories of objectivity as a concept and as a journalistic value – and discusses the question of absolute or contextual objectivity. It deals in detail on what has been the methodology of coverage of issue of terrorism which is adopted by these channels and how far they have gone in following the set guidelines by regulatory bodies.

Investigating coverage of terrorism is also a point which is discussed in this paper.The  researcher analyzes whether there are more indications of a global perspective, of a nation-oriented view on international terrorism.The paper deals with whether or not the ideas are substantial or oversimplified for the  TV news media as it might help shape their approach to covering the world and their reflections on the possibility of restrained journalism on terrorism.


Can the journalism strategy of the BBC and CNN,CNN-IBN and Aaj Tak lead to a type of journalism that shows respect for both sides of a conflict? Or, does it contribute to, or perhaps even accelerate, the the emotions of public as many believe – particularly between Islamic and non  non-Islamic West? The concept of globalization or internationalization of certain wars, which were result of terrorist activities worldwide , as well as the high attention of  terrorism coverage broadcast worldwide might open up better opportunities to journalists – particularly to those who work in democratic countries like U.S.A and India – to improve their coverage. But obviously, most of them haven’t seized this chance or perhaps don’t even see it as a chance. The context is the key: the context of the operation methodology, follow of guidelines of regulatory bodies,and of the journalistic culture and of the global environment.

CNN-IBN is a partnership between CNN and network 18 and the issue of coverage of terrorism has been highly appreciable among viewers after 26/11. Channels even runs a ticker on its screen that if viewers have any complain on the content of channels they may complain it on Broadcasting standard authority of India.Even then the 26/11 covergae and discussion on the issue of terrorism have lead a heated debate among critic on methodology adopted while coverage. Aaj Tak is flagship channel of Living media India Ltd,which also runs several other channels and print magazine.This is India’s leading hindi news and current affair channel but the 26/11 coverage and there after has raised debate among regulatory bodies about the way of portrayal of terrorism on screen.

The different structure of BBC and CNN is one reason for their different self-perceptions, their ways of reporting, and the way they are changing on the issue of terrorism. The commercial broadcaster CNN was economically successful until Gulf War II for its journalists’ fortitude. The BBC, as a consequence of the ongoing discussions on their financing and status and as a result of economic and technological developments, now tends more towards commercialization, e.g. via the global satellite broadcasting-arm BBC World. But, at least, the BBC’s environment is still protected, its “public values”, as the discussions following the crossfire of the Hutton Inquiry in the wake of the Kelly Scandal 2003/04 show, are a strong backbone. This context helps to preserve and cultivate journalistic values, including utmost of impartiality while covering sensitive issue like terrorism.. The political power of CNN and the BBC is not as great as many journalists and some researchers think it is. The power in its extent is a myth. The CNN, through the “CNN-effect”, or a similarly acting broadcaster cannot drive policy and the BBC does not have the power sometimes attributed to it. (ref.: Royce J. Ammon,

Eytan Gilboa, Kai Hafez, Thomas Meyer, Piers Robinson).

Sources of Paper-

Discussions with colleagues and experts about the problem, its origin and  objectives in seeking a solution.

Examination of data and records for possible trends, peculiarities.

Review of similar studies.

Exploratory personal investigation / Observation.

Logical deduction from the existing theory.

Continuity of research.

Intuition and personal experience.


1-World Islamic Front Statement Situation Report-2005

2-U.S. State Dept– Coordination for counter-terrorism

3-National strategy against terrorism

4-Recent news analysis and legislation regarding terrorism

5-Domestic Terrorism: A National Assessment of State

6-Restructuring South Asian Security—Manas Publication,New Delhi ,ISBN-8170491215

7-Global Terrorism – The Way Forward – New Dawn Press- Maj Gen Vinod Saighan- ISBN -1932705007

8-Media and World at War- Gerald Haskins

9-Oil,Money and Secret Saudi World- Steve Coll

10-Ghost Wars- Steve Coll

11-Media and War on Terrorism-Stephen Hess –Marvin Kalb Books

12-Weekly reports of Project for Excellence in Journalism

13- Mumbai  Post 26/11( A collection of Essays by noted experts)

14-Confronting Terrorism- Edited by Maruf Raza.

15-Tracking of BBC World,CNN International,CNN-IBN,Aaj Tak

16- topics.cnn.com/topics/terrorism

17- www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/

18- articles.cnn.com/…/vinas.cruickshank.analysis_1_qaeda-pakistani-tal

19- globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/…/democracy’s-drama-in-terrorism






25- www.mediacrooks.com/…/cnn-ibn-divide-nation-polls-terrorism.ht

  1. For a useful discussion of the conceptual literature see Alex P. Schmid and Albert J. Jongman, Political Terrorism: A New Guide to Actors, Authors, Concepts, Data Bases, Theories and Literature (Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing 1988) pp. 1-32.

27. This sect is the subject of a classic study; Bernard Lewis, The Assassins: A Radical Sect in 4. Islam (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1967).

  1. The relationship between the mass media and coverage of terrorism is analysed in Alex Schmid and Janny de Graaf, Violence as Communication: Insurgent Terrorism and the Western News Media (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage 1982), Richard Clutterbuck, The Media and Political Violence (London: Macmillan 1981) and Abraham Miller (ed.), Terror, the Media and the Law (Dobbs Ferry, NY: Transaction 1982).

29. This is a point made very powerfully in Alex P. Schmid, ‘Terrorism and the Media: The Ethics of Publicity’, TPV 1/4 (Oct. 1989) pp.539- 65.

  1. On the terrorists’ use of propaganda war see Maurice Tugwell, ‘Politics and Propaganda of the Provisional IRA, in Paul Wilkinson (ed.), British Perspectives on Terrorism (London: George Alien and Unwin 198 1) pp. 13-40, and Maurice Tugwell, ‘Revolutionary Propaganda and Possible Counter-Measures’, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, King’s College, University of London,1978.
  1. In this connection the author has observed in a recent article in Martin Warner and Roget Crisp (eds), Terrorism Protest and Power (London: Elgar 1990) p. 52:
  1. On terrorists’ manufacture of media events see the useful discussion in Schmid and de Grant Violence as Communication (note 5) pp.9-56.
  1. See Schmid, ‘Terrorism and the Media’ (note 12) pp.539-65.
  2. Hamid Mowlana, ‘The Role of the Media in the US-Iranian Conflict’, in Andrew Arno and Wimal Dissanake (eds), The News Media in National International Conflict (Boulder, CO: Westview 1984).
  1. Evidence for this assessment can be found in Tim Gallimore’s valuable paper, ‘Media Compliance with Voluntary Press Guidelines For Covering Terrorism’, presented at the Terrorism and the News Media Research Project conference.
  1. Baroness Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister, made a powerful point in an interview published in The Times, 30 March 1988: ‘The news media should consider whether those who, like terrorists, use freedom to destroy freedom, should have so much publicity for their work.’


Ratnesh Dwivedi Institutional Representative of SECINDEF (Security Intelligence and Defense) Israel-USA International Consulting Counterterrorism in the India and collaborating analyst of OCATRY (Observatory against the Terrorist Threat and the Jihadist Radicalization) Scholar,Amity School of Communication,Amity University,Uttar Pradesh,India.