# Terrorismo



 8.1- Research Approach
 8.2-Sample Selection and design
  1. A) Sample Design
  2. B) Sample type
  3. C) Sample Area





«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.


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 [1978] 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.


4.1: 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:

  1. Study is based on discourse analysis as data on coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 is not available in public domain.
  2. Study is based on analyzing transcripts as BBC has washed out all video tapes related to coverage of 9/11
  3. Many can question that freedom of media does not allow to impose any set of guidelines on any type of coverage by TV channels
  4. 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.


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,

including civilians;

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:

  1. 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?
  2. How fit and true are the western definitions or definition given in developing world?
  3. How far broadcast media has played its role on defining the term and creating awareness about the term “International Terrorism”?
  4. 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?
  5. Have BBC and CNN portrayed and thus created awareness among viewers about 9/11 and 26/11?
  6. 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?
  7. Have BBC and CNN not glorified the term terrorism?
  8. What are regulatory bodies?
  9. What they have done or what guidelines they have set to suggest broadcast media while covering sensitive issues like terrorism?
  10. How far they have succeeded to suggest the channels to follow the guidelines?
  11. What are these guidelines?
  12. What are the loopholes in these guidelines?
  13. What is the proposed way in the thesis on principles and guidelines for broadcast media while covering the issue of terrorism?
  14. Why the study required and why the existing guidelines have succeeded or not succeeded?


The balance to be struck is between the citizen’s right to reliable neutral information and faith in public authorities who may have legitimate national security reasons for withholding information, but who might also misinform or attempt to spin their policies and performances for personal or partisan gain. Numerous studies suggest the US media have been too uncritical in their coverage of the Bush Administration’s policies implemented in response to the events of September 11. Critiques range from the media’s failure to challenge the validity of a «war on terror» to a lack of critical analysis, reportage, and commentary on the war on terror (see, for example, Coe et al.; Kellner). The dilemma here is straightforward: if the press is too critical of the Administration, it risks incurring the Administration’s wrath, as when former Attorney General of the United States John Ashcroft testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

… to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists-for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies, and pause to America’s friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil. («Testimony of Attorney General John Ashcroft»)

The response of the media in the US was often far from being objective, calm, and prudent. Instead, media organs oozed hatred and hysteria, calling for action against mainly Arabs and Muslims and crying for revenge, as terrorists would have planned. The major corporate media tended to support the patriotic discourse and the policies of the then president George W. Bush, who was leading the nation against the forces of “political and cosmological evil” (Lewis 2005). This way of media coverage after a traumatic event dramatically changed the public perceptions, discourse at government and public levels, and the way people perceive events and “other” people, specifically ethnic and religious minorities who can be perceived as a “threat”. As a result, as Altheide (2009) argues, the discourse of fear has been constructed through news and popular culture accounts and the main discourse of fear has clearly become terrorism in the post 9/11 era. In other words, “9/11 was used by the media and politicians to promote fear related agendas and ideologies. Citizens became accustomed to ‘safety rhetoric’ by police officials, which often required them to permit police searches, condone ‘overaggressive’ police action, as well as join in a myriad of crime-prevention efforts, many of which involved more human as well as electronic surveillance of work places, neighborhoods, stores, and even ‘bodies’” (Altheide 2009).

The proposed research study will reveal following points of study:

  1. Definition of terrorism in post 9/11 and 26/11 scenario is correct
  2. Coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN was as per norms of regulatory bodies
  3. There is need of certain set of guidelines while covering issue of terrorism by TV channels.
  4. Government and News entity run guidelines are not effective.


Basic objective of proposed Ph.D. is:

  • To understand the term “International Terrorism” after 9/11 in International Context and after 26/11 in Indian context
  • To carry out a detail study on how the coverage of issue of terrorism is portrayed on BBC and CNN. Critical study of BBC and CNN on their response to coverage of terrorist attack of 9/11 and 26/11 with in next three months of event.

To study coverage of terrorism in the context of 9/11 and 26/11 attacks and its portrayal in BBC and CNN

An analytical study of frame work of regulations followed by BBC and CNN while coverage of 9/11 and 26/11. To understand role of regulatory bodies and guidelines for the coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN

  • An analytical study and suggestion for regulatory bodies and guidelines proposed  for broadcast journalists.
  • To put forward a comprehensive conclusion on what needs to be done by regulatory bodies, broadcast medium and broadcast journalists while covering the issue of terrorism and a study on what they have done so far.

There is no doubt that terrorism must be reported. However, the way the events are framed and the extent to which it is covered is also important. Accordingly, in order to alter the symbiotic relationship between terrorism and the media, it is of high importance for the media to reevaluate and change its rhetoric when covering the terrorism-related news and stories. Just as the security elite can desecuritize issues in international affairs through speech-acts, media can adopt the same approach and desecuritize terrorism-related acts and stories through covering those incidents just as any other story in a more responsible and less “sensational” manner. Achieving this may not only prevent terrorists from using media coverage as an important publicity and recruitment tool, but may also prevent the emergence of an atmosphere of fear at the public level. It may also force government and security elite to make more rational decisions regarding countering terrorism and dealing with public outrage. Hence, news coverage with less repetition of horrific scenes, less traumatization, less sensation and more information and prudence are essential in the first place to break the symbiosis.

When one says ‘terrorism’ in a democratic society, one says ‘media’. For terrorism by its very nature is a psychological weapon which depends upon communicating a threat to the wider society. This, in essence, is why terrorism and the media enjoy a symbiotic relationship. The free media clearly do not represent terrorist values. Generally they tend to reflect the underlying values of the democratic society. But the media in an open society are in a fiercely competitive market for their audiences, constantly under pressure to be first with the news and to provide more information, excitement and entertainment than their rivals. Hence they almost bound to respond to terrorist propaganda of

the deed because it is dramatic bad news. Thus, as explained earlier,the media are in a kind of symbiotic relationship with terrorism. This does not, of course, mean that the mass media are controlled by the terrorists. It does mean that they are continually attempting to manipulate and exploit the free media for their own ends. It also means that responsible media professionals and the public need to be constantly on their guard against terrorist attempts to manipulate them.

Terrorists view the mass media in a free society in entirely cynical and opportunistic terms. They have nothing but contempt for the values and attitudes of the democratic mass media. For example, they view the media’s expressed concern for the protecting human life as mere hypocrisy and sentimentality. However, many terrorist leaders are well aware that their cause can be damaged by unfavourable publicity. Hence the more established and sophisticated terrorist movements and their political ‘Front’ organisations, such as Sinn Fein and Herri Batasuna, invest considerable time and effort in waging propaganda warfare directed both at domestic and international audiences.

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.


In the proposed Ph.D. thesis researcher has applied a mixed set of research methods but avoiding empirical or quantitative research methods and indulging in discourse analysis by applying descriptive,analytical ,qualitiative and conceptual research methods as discussed under:


8.1:Research Approach: 

Content Analysis based on discourse related to coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN by analyzing transcripts of coverage.

Descriptive research-

In the proposed Ph D researcher intends to do a descriptive research by analyzing the status of  definition terrorism in contemporary scenario

The researcher will go in all details while dealing with issue by applying descriptive research methodology to understand broader definition of international terrorism in post 9/11 and 26/11 scenario.

Analytical research—

The proposed thesis will examine all the facts available so far. The details from specific TV Channels(BBC and CNN are chosen for study) will be collected to go thorough the text of coverage of terrorism(two events are chosen namely 9/11 and 26/11) discussion on this issue which has been conducted in studios, and examination of transcripts available in video library of TV channels or sourced from Ph.D Supervisors. 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

Qualitative research–

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

Conceptual research—

The researcher plans to develop 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 will be based on current guidelines and regulation by existing organizations. The research will also give a conceptual framework to the issue of terrorism and its coverage by broadcast media.

8.2:Sample Collection and Design:

  1. A) Sample Design- Analysis of transcripts of three months from 9/11 and 26/11 of BBC and CNN
  1. B) Sample type: Transcripts of coverage on 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN
  1. c) Sample Area: Transcripts of programs on BBC and CNN related to 9/11 and 26/11
  1. D) Sample Size: Three months from 9/11 and 26/11


The researcher aims to source data (text of transcripts & c. for the purpose of discourse analysis) 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

Tracked footage  of BBC and CNN till three months of 9/11 and 26/11.

And majorly transcripts of coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN from these channels itself or from libraries where these transcripts or stored.

Study Period: Three months from 9/11 and 26/11 (11/09/2003-11/12/2003 and 26/11/2008-26/02/2009)


  • To understand coverage of 9/11 and 26/11 by BBC and CNN
  • To understand definition of Terrorism
  • To understand regulatory framework on coverage of terrorism


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

10.1:Objectivity :

The media should have a conscious sense of its responsibilities to the public, as one of the goals of terrorists it to shake public confidence in their own security. Thus, objectivity and bipartisanship should be key when reporting a story. The media should present both sides of the story to the audience fairly and accurately without bias, so that the audience can make their own opinion of the news and/or story independent of the media’s negative influence. The media coverage of success stories should be balanced with the coverage of failure stories without speculation and dramatization in order to add to the credibility of the source and public order in the aftermath of an attack.

10.2 :Clarity:

Since a critical part of counterterrorism is information warfare, it is among the goals of terrorists to misinform the public and exploit the uncertainty and suspicion emerged afterwards. Given these, the media should provide the clearest, most factual, and most balanced information to the extent it is possible to prevent the misinterpretation of terrorism-related incidents by the public and government officials who can possibly make suboptimal decisions regarding the countering moves. The media should especially avoid presenting extreme and blindly partisan viewpoints to raise ratings and use a plain language that everybody can understand in order not to invite panic.

10.3 :Selective use of soft power :

Even though some advocate the use of media tools for propaganda against terrorists, specifically in the narrative warfare in radical extremism, this is generally fruitless, given that the media has certain limits and legal and moral obligations, while terrorists do not. It is also counterproductive, as media propoganda amplifies the perceived power of a terrorist organization. Instead, media can be employed as a public affairs and public diplomacy tool instead of a propaganda tool to influence foreign publics and potential recruits. To this end, without propaganda, through the “new” and “traditional” media tools, the extremist narrative can be countered with an equally clear and appealing narrative to deny access to the public terrorists draw their support from.

10.4:Differentiation :

Since no terrorist group is alike, the media should differentiate between different types of terrorism and terrorist groups in order not to provoke and mobilize public against certain ethnic and/or religious minorities. In other words, it is of high importance not to cover news and stories in such a way to contribute to the “otherization” of the group in question and create an “us vs. them” scenario. Such dichotomy can give way to social unrest in multicultural societies that fail to integrate certain groups and trigger further attacks, as the anger and hopelessness become pushing forces for potential recruiters, sympathizers, and even moderates to uprise.

10.5 :Counter cyber-terrorism :

The Internet has become a central forum in a global scale for debate among numerous communities that are being directly affected by the global political violence. The communication of violent and oppressive groups has also heavily relied on the Internet. In other words, the age of the Internet has brought an age of online terrorism and enabled terrorists to use the web to recruit, raise money, and spread their messages. Even though the regulation of the media, specifically the Internet, presents a fundamental dilemma due to the inherent tension between censorship and the democratic tradition of free speech, privacy, and press freedom, it is crucial to take countering measures against the cyber activities of terrorists. These measures can include tracking their activities on online forums, following their conservations and activities on social media, and prevent the spread of radicalizing materials from specific websites. In addition to that, enacting laws at national level to punish the ones using the Internet to provoke the public, recruit and train, and propagandize can identify terrorists and prevent a potential attack.

10.6 :Government assistance :

Governments can give assistance to media organs by giving the political context and background of any terrorism-related act or story, as it is ideally the ultimate goal of the media to correctly inform the audience. To this end, a government-media partnership that is better informing the public, refuting the arguments of terrorists, and depriving them of the publicity they need can be formed.



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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