“Terrorism” is a term that cannot be given a stable definition. Or rather, it can, but to do so forestalls any attempt to examine the major feature of its relation to television in the contemporary world. As the central public arena for organizing ways of picturing and talking about social and political life, TV plays a pivotal role in the contest between competing definitions, accounts and explanations of terrorism.
In proposed research which is divided is divided in five major areas where I intend to focus. First is to understand the term terrorism and its historical contextualization with with focus on defining the term without any bias .Secondly to establish a relation between the terrorism and its coverage on medium. I have taken two case studies of two major terror attacks and its coverage by world’s two top most TV news entities. They are coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN The study will focus on how the coverage of international terrorism has been so during next three months when these two events took place by CNN and BBC. The event of coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN will be dealt in two separate chapters. Third stage is to study about the regulatory bodies on their guidelines and then to understand how BBC and CNN have followed these guidelines while coverage of BBC and CNN.Fourth stage is analysis, finding and suggesting recommendations while coverage of such events as 9/11 and 26/11 The study will carry a detail about how media channels has portrayed the issue of terrorism and where they have crossed the set guidelines. The last and fifth stage stage will carry a detail guideline and study( a proposed study) on what needs to be done within regulatory bodies and broadcast medium to act upon while covering the issue of terrorism such as 9/11 and 26/11.
The research scholar intends to analyze live transcripts of coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN and apply discourse analysis method on analyzing the content of transcripts. His primary source of literature review will be these thousands pages of transcripts within next three months of 9/11 and 26/11 provided by BBC and CNN
For most of the television age, from the end of World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the deployment of positive and negative political labels was an integral part of Cold War politics and its dualistic view of the world. “Terrorism” was used extensively to characterise enemies of the United States and its
Using modern means terrorism learned how to apply opportunities provided by media. Terrorists are able to exploit all advantages of media using them for presenting their political objectives and for gaining the support of the Islam world. In our opinion media multiply the impact of terrorist attacks. Global communications means provide real time coverage on terrorist acts. Each and every terrorist attack is a piece of news in the world. That is why it is not only the fact of destruction which is important for terrorists but also its social-psychological impact.
Terrorist organisations and terrorist select their targets carefully and the murdered victims or destroyed facilities comprise terrorists’ messages to public and media. This message is used for intimidation, generating fear, transmitting terrorists’ demands. It is well known that media will report on terrorist acts and show the bloodiest pictures without delay.
It would be foolish to deny that modern media technology, communications satellites and the rapid spread of television have had a marked effect in increasing the publicity potential of terrorism. A dramatic illustration was the seizure and massacre of Israeli athletes by Black September terrorists at the Munich Olympics. It is estimated that these events were relayed to a world wide TV audience of over 500 million.6. For as long as the mass media exist, terrorists will hunger for what former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, called ‘the oxygen of publicity’. And for as long as terrorists commit acts of violence the mass media will continue to scramble to cover them in order to satisfy the desire of their audiences for dramatic stories in which there is inevitably huge public curiosity about both the victimisers and their victims. Even those terrorist incidents where the perpetrators fail to claim responsibility and their identity is unknown or in serious doubt, as in the case of the bombing of the American base at Dhahran in June 1996, the international media coverage given will still be enormous.
2.0. LITERATURE REVIEW-
The researcher has examined and read number of books, journals and magazines in order to design the framework of proposed Ph D. 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.But researcher’s focus on this proposed Ph.D. is to understand definition of international terrorism in post 9/1 and 26/11 scenario.Second part will be dealing with coverage of 9/11(World Trade Center attack) and 26/11(Mumbai attack) by BBC and CNN.Third part will be dealing with examining BBC and CNN coverage for next three month after 9/11 and 26/11 and understand if both channels followed ethical and governmental guidelines on coverage of terrorism.Fourth part will be dealing with examining existing guidelines on coverage of terrorism and fifth part will be suggesting a set patter and recommendation on coverage of terrorism by studying BBC and CNN coverage of 9/11 and 26/11.
In order to reach out on a conclusion on proposed Ph D,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, and website associated with the issue,and then he proposes the above said Ph D proposal.Also researcher will examine thousands of pages of transcripts of next three month from 9/11 and 26/11 of BBC and CNN, sourced either from both channels or from Ph.D supervisor .
My primary source of research will be thousands of pages of transcripts of coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN,which I intend to source from either these channels directly of from my both Ph.D. supervisors.
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 Ph D. proposal.Some of the sources researcher has gone through are as under:
York: Palgrave, 2001). Reprinted from Australian Journal of Communication,
Authors suggests in his work that to probe the intricate relationships between government, media and terror. Democracy allows terror more latitude than any other forms of government. Often the media are utilized and exploited by terrorists to exert pressure on governments, to mediate between the two sides, and to transmit messages to the public in order to gain support. Terrorists take advantage of the freedom granted to the media to advance their own cause. The media give terrorism close attention and in the name of public’s right to know cover terrorist incidents intensely. Palgrave York tries to see at which point the journalistic coverage ends and cooperation between media and terrorism begins. Issues at point are: terrorists’ memoirs; terror and rating; commercialization of terrorism; journalists’ responsibilities; the Contagion Effect of terrorism; media influence on public opinion and decision making; coverage of extortionist episodes.
Benjamin Netanyahu, “Terrorism: How the West Can Win”, in Benjamin.
Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirms my own conclusion that in modern terrorism, we are not dealing with some transient and easily solved problem that can be banished by one quick and bold stroke. Rather, we are dealing with a complex and deeply rooted set of factors that require careful analysis, extended planning and coordination, commitment of substantial resources and recognition of the reality that no matter what course we follow, the cost in human lives may be high. Possibly most important, we must face the reality that the struggle against terrorism will not be brief.
Netanyahu (Ed.), Terrorism: How The West Can Win (New York: Farrar,
Straus, Giroux, 1986), pp. 199-226.
Author writes that he moral wounds that terrorism inflicts on society include shaken confidence in the government and the rule of law, fear, and the conditioning of the public to outrage and lawlessness. By targeting innocent civilians, it also violates some of the most precious moral and ethical boundaries. To counter these effects, it is important that governments develop a sustained and resolute policy of resistance, active pursuit, and retaliation. Such a policy, however, must be reinforced by sanctions against those governments that collaborate with terrorists to wage a hidden war against their adversaries, particularly the West. Three types of sanctions are viable. Political pressures, ranging from international condemnation to severing of relations can be brought to bear. Since most of the countries supporting international terrorism desperately need Western goods, weapons, or credit, economic sanctions also can be effective. These may include trade sanctions, denial of commercial landing rights, or withdrawal of aid. Finally, unilateral or cooperative military action against terrorists and those that shelter them offers a third sanction.
Geoffrey Jackson, “Terrorism and the News Media”, Terrorism and Political
Violence, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter 1990), pp. 521-528. Author suggests strict regulation for media while covering terrorism. He says For the prime reason of not endangering lives, the media better refrain from live coverage of events. This is especially true when attempts are carried out to free hostages. Live media coverage showing special security forces preparing to enter into the building where hostages are held might risk the entire operation and put the hostages in jeopardy. The terrorists might be attentive to media coverage and hear and even see the rescue operation while in progress. Their reaction might be deadly. Furthermore, hostages might hear about the plans, become alarm and confused and might act in a way that would jeopardize the operation. What is suggested is not a complete shutting off the media. Instead, I am suggesting delayed coverage so as not to risk human lives.
David C. Rapoport, “The International World As Some Terrorists Have
Seen It: A Look At a Century of Memoirs”, in David C. Rapoport, Inside
Terrorist Organizations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), pp.
32-58. Author writes how sensational media coverage has triggered terrorist to be more heinous and letha in the crime they commits.He gives an example in his book .Immature and irresponsible behaviour on the part of the media was manifested during the siege that started on April 30, 1980, when six terrorists, members of an Arabistan anti-Khomeini movement called “The Mahealdin Al-Naser Martyr Group,” took over the Iranian embassy in London.3 They held 26 people as hostages, demanding the release of 91 ethnic Arab militants being held in Iran and a plane to fly themselves and their hostages to an unspecified destination outside Britain. They threatened to blow up the embassy and kill the hostages if their demands were not met in 24 hours (Blanche, 1980b; “Six Days of Waiting,” 1980). During the negotiations the authorities pressured the terrorists to release some hostages, and indeed they agreed. They were about to release more hostages when they heard on the radio that the police had changed their mind regarding the number of gunmen inside the embassy. Earlier reports had said there were three gunmen and now they said there were six. “See what happens when I release hostages,” said the leader of the group to one of the hostages (Cramer & Harris, 1982, p. 96). The released hostage had been promised that nothing of his statement would be released (Cramer & Harris, 1982). Still, vital information found its way to the media. That leak and report could have endangered the prospects of releasing more hostages and possibly pushed the angered terrorist to harm the hostages.
Bonnie Cordes, “When Terrorists Do the Talking: Reflections on Terrorist
Literature”, in David C. Rapoport, Inside Terrorist Organizations (N.Y.:
Columbia University Press, 1988), pp. 150-171. Authors writes in this book that There is a delicate relationship between terrorists and the media. Free speech and free media-the basic instruments (many would say values) of every democracy-provide terrorists with the publicity they need to inform the public about their operations and goals. Indeed, democracy is the best arena for those who wish to reach their ends by violent means. Violent movements and individuals exploit the democratic instruments to find “golden paths” (from their point of view) to further their ends without holding themselves to the rules of law and order. Those movements and individuals would be crushed immediately were they to employ similar tactics in autocratic systems (Cohen-Almagor, 1999).
Michael Stohl, “The Myths and Realities of Contemporary Political
Terrorism”, in Michael Stohl (ed.), The Politics of Terrorism (N.Y. and Basel:
Marcel Dekker, 1988), pp. 1-19. Author defines act of terrorism as Terrorism is defined as ‘‘the systematic employment of violence and intimid” [Brown 1992: 32-58], Shultz  too sees it as ‘‘…the threat or use of extra normal forms of political violence, in varying degrees with the objectives of achieving certain political objectives/goals”, to Stohl [1988:3] it is ‘‘the purposeful act or the threat of the act of violence to create fear and/or compilant behaviour in a victim and/or audience of the act or threat”. Examples of terrorism include kidnapping, especially when employed on a consistent basis, bomb attacks, hijacking, arson, public execution, armed attacks, hostage-barricade situations, and other serious threats to life and property.
Robin P.J.M. Gerrits, “Terrorists’ Perspectives: Memoirs”, in David L. Paletz
and Alex P. Schmid (eds.), Terrorism and the Media (Newbury Park, CA.:
Sage, 1992), pp. 29-61. Authors suggests and expand reasons of terrorism as a new and constantly evolving field, terrorism studies has few aphorisms. Yet one speech has emerged relatively unscathed from a generation of scholarly critique. “Since most terrorists groups are small and have few resources, the violence they carry out must be deliberately shocking,” Brian Michael Jenkins, a young analyst at the RAND Corporation, told the California State Assembly in 1975. “Terrorism is violence for effect. Terrorists choreograph violence to achieve maximum publicity. Terrorism is theater…Terrorists want a lot of people watching, not a lot of people dead” (Jenkins 1975, 4). Jenkins’ final sentence became his most famous, and the idea that terrorists impose constraints on their own actions to avoid public backlash has been a staple of scholarly literature ever since. Implicit in Jenkins’ statement is that an external entity — the media — will provide publicity if the terrorists carry out a truly shocking act. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made this destructive relationship explicit when she said that terrorism is fed in part by those who supply the terrorists with the “oxygen of publicity” (Irvin 1992, 65). In 1988, her administration banned live interviews with members, supporters and elected representatives of Irish political party Sinn Fein due to the group’s alleged links to the IRA (64).
British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher once said that “Media is Oxygen for Terrorist”.What she intended to say is truth about relation between terroris organizations and media. In simple words its well understood fact that that terrorist organization use media to portray their agenda in public.But it took 9/11 to truly give it a global dimension. Problem is no nearer to a solution. The temptation to add “before it gets worse” has to be avoided. It is not likely to get better for a long time to come. The role of media in covering terrorism was dramatically high lightened in the aftermath of September 11 bombings in west and 26/11 in India. Perhaps for the first time ever the primacy of Anglo- American media channels CNN and BBC was challenged by a Qatar based Arabic station Al –Jazeera to challenge the realm of CNN- and BBC. CNN had become the most powerful medium to communicate information, disinformation and misinformation. I have chosen this topic for my proposed research to understand this relation first by analyzing the coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN and then to understand the sensitivity of matter in coverage of both events by both TV stations. The core aim of proposed research is to analyze the coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN and then to understand to what extent they have followed guidelines set by government and regulatory bodies. In today’s time when media goes haywire while covering many sensitive issues,its quite evident and important to study this frame work. Its also important to study coverage and guidelines because they are not universal and change in each country but researcher intends to set basic frame work on coverage of terrorist event such as 9/11 and 26/11.
Similarly in India 26/11 put forward many challenges and raised many questions on the methodologies adopted by TV Channels to cover and portray it on screen about terror act.
The coverage of movement of marine commandos by TV channels which alerted the operators were highly criticized by media experts. The 24 *7 channels broadcast live on operation and gave minute details about the whole operation to their viewers which resulted broadcasters association in India to issue certain guidelines for TV channels.
Hence its important to understand the sensitivity of matter such as 9/11 and 26/11 and study in detail about coverage of terrorist events by media and setting up a regulatory frame work by inciting examples from 9/11 and 26/11by taking two case studies of BBC and CNN.
4.0: SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF STUDY-
4.1: Scope of Study-
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 the roles of CNN and the BBC are changing while dealing with issue of coverage of terrorism.Researcher has a set plan to include BBC,CNN as international representative channels.The plan to start the Ph D is with historical research on international terrorism, a brief description and comparison of thestructure, 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 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 shall be discussed in proposed Ph D.The researcher analyzes whether there are more indications of a global perspective, of a nation-oriented view on international terrorism.The proposed Ph D 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 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.
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).
4.2: Limitations of Study-
Surely there are certain limitations to my proposed study as under:
- Study is based on discourse analysis as data on coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 is not available in public domain.
- Study is based on analyzing transcripts as BBC has washed out all video tapes related to coverage of 9/11
- Many can question that freedom of media does not allow to impose any set of guidelines on any type of coverage by TV channels
- Study is focused only on events which took place in two major democracies USA and India.All countries facing issues of terrorism are not included due to limitation of availability of data, transcripts and footage as well as prevailing security guidelines in respective countries
5.0: RESEARCH QUESTIONS—
Hence the research question in this proposed Ph D is basically circling around –
5.1: Definition of Terrorism –
Do we really understand the meaning of term International Terrorism?What are changes in perception of defining the term in post 9/11 and 26/11 scenario?
Researcher intends to analyze term International Terrorism in Post 9/11 and Post 26/11 scenario.
The term terrorism as used in this Ph.D proposal denotes a particular type of violence. It is not employed as a synonym for politically motivated violence in general. It has five distinguishing characteristics:
1)it is premeditated and designed to create a climate of extreme fear;
2) it is directed at a wider target than the immediate victims;
3) it inherently involves attacks on random or symbolic targets,
4) it is considered by the society in which it occurs as ‘extra-normal’,
that is in the literal sense that it violates the norms regulating
disputes, Protest and dissent; and
5) it is used primarily, though not exclusively, to influence the political behaviour of governments, communities or specific social groups.The weapon of terror is used extensively by both sub-state and state actors in the international system, and has, since the 1980s, been increasingly used by groups with a religious motivation and as a
method of intimidating the authorities or rival gangs, by those involved in international organised crime, such as drug cartels and the Mafia.
5.2-Coverage by Broadcast Media (BBC and CNN)—
What and how was the coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN?Did they follow regulatory frame work while covering both events?
Researcher Intends to understand coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN.
The basic question which is raised by researcher is the role of media in covering the issue of terrorism. It deals with not realizing the sensitivity of issue. Sharing the platform with govt as mouth piece of govt as has been questioned by media critics in case of BBC and CNN. The thesis will analyze the coverage of two channels while covering 9/11 and 26/11 by analyzing the text of script, the video footage and having discussion with key reporters.
In order to achieve their objectives terrorist organisations need all forms of mass media. It is very important how media presents consequences of terrorist acts, how information is transmitted to public. Previously terrorist acts had less attention than nowadays. It is worth to see that terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid, London or Bali had record publicity in mass media while terrorist acts committed in other regions had only “standard” coverage. Television and press have had a significant impact on how public receives terrorist acts and their consequences. As a result, nearly each public survey indicates that responders almost anywhere put fear of terrorist acts o the top of their priority list.
5.3-Role of regulatory bodies—
What is the role of regulatory bodies on coverage of sensitive events like terrorism? Are they effective?
Researcher intends to understand guidelines and framework on coverage of terrorism and its application while coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN.
Regulatory bodies are supposed to issue some fundamental guidelines to broadcast media and media persons when they cover and report on terrorism. But the question is how far they have practiced their duties? The study will analyze the existing guidelines proposed by these regulatory bodies and their methods to ensure the action by media channels. And if no, then why it has not been influential in pressurizing the media channels to follow the set guidelines?
A policy option on media response to terrorism is some form of media censorship or statutory regulation. In view of the great power wielded by-the media, for good or ill, it is hardly surprising to find that, when faced with severe terrorist campaigns, several democratic countries have sought to deny the terrorist direct access to the important platform of the broadcast media. This was clearly the prime concern underlying former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s demand that the terrorists should be starved of the oxygen of publicity, and the British government’s ban, since rescinded, on broadcasting the voices of terrorist spokespersons.
5.4-Reccommendations of Research—
Am I as researcher in position to suggest some recommendations and framework on coverage of sensitive events like terrorism through my proposed study?
The researcher intend to analyze all the situation at national and international level which contains wide definition of terrorism, coverage by broadcast media ,role of regulatory bodies and then to propose a study based on research and existing guidelines, which may suggest broadcast media on their principles and guidelines while covering the issue of terrorism.
There are a number of other important ways in which responsible media in a democracy serve to frustrate the aims of terrorists.
Terrorists like to Present themselves as noble Robin Hoods,champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. By showing the savage cruelty of terrorists’ violence and the way in which they violate the rights of the innocent, the media can help to shatter this myth. It is
quite easy to show, by plain photographic evidence, how terrorists have failed to observe any laws or rules of war, how they have murdered women and children, the old and the sick, without compunction. For in terrorist practice no one is innocent, no one can
be neutral, for all are potentially expendable for the transcendental ends of terrorist cause.
What else can the media do in a positive way to aid in the struggle against terrorism? There are numerous practical forms of help they can provide. Responsible and accurate reporting of incidents can create heightened vigilance among the public to observe, for example, unusual packages, suspicious persons or behaviour
The as primary research questions can broadly be discussed as under:
- Do we find that the term terrorism has been used by some nation to widely categories a particular ethnic race or religion for their own glory and power?
- How fit and true are the western definitions or definition given in developing world?
- How far broadcast media has played its role on defining the term and creating awareness about the term “International Terrorism”?
- How responsible international and national media( Study of BBC,CNN,) have been in portraying news, live coverage, discussions and talk shows related to 9/11 and 26/11?
- Have BBC and CNN portrayed and thus created awareness among viewers about 9/11 and 26/11?
- Have BBC and CNN followed existing guidelines proposed by concerned regulatory bodies and have adopted a restrained methodology while dealing with the issue of terrorism?
- Have BBC and CNN not glorified the term terrorism?
- What are regulatory bodies?
- What they have done or what guidelines they have set to suggest broadcast media while covering sensitive issues like terrorism?
- How far they have succeeded to suggest the channels to follow the guidelines?
- What are these guidelines?
- What are the loopholes in these guidelines?
- What is the proposed way in the thesis on principles and guidelines for broadcast media while covering the issue of terrorism?
- Why the study required and why the existing guidelines have succeeded or not succeeded
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. Journalist / Acdemic / Writer and NASA Certified Educator