Does Terrorism Still Need Mass Media?

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Creating and spreading narratives
One of the biggest roles of media in society is creating and spreading narratives. In the simple meaning, narrative is a story. Media creates stories that could be perceived by its audiences as truth. If terrorism uses media, in the sense of they creating their own media, in order to create their narrative, it is can be understood as an effort to shape public opinion about them. They probably tell public about the truth that they produce; they create their own media culture.
Media stories and images provide the symbols, myths, and resources which help constitute a common culture for the majority of individuals in many parts of the world today. Media culture provides the materials to create identities whereby individuals insert themselves into contemporary techno-capitalist societies and which is producing a new form of global culture. (Kellner 1995: 1)

In Stories, Identities, and Political Change, Charles Tilly (2002: 5-6) examines the role of narratives in “contentious politics” as the making of public understandings on each other by “politically constituted actors”. He added that narratives are very important in “political mobilisation” based on two reasons. First, they are essentials to the constitution of the political identification of the actors. Second, narratives also have the function of “channeling social action”.
For the first reason, creating good political identity is essential to terrorists in order to achieve their political goals. They would probably challenge the use of the term “terrorism” as the term that is produced and used by their enemies. They would argue that the use of the term terrorism is the proof or arrogance and superiority of government to discredit “freedom fi...

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...xpress their “identity” and implement their knowledge.

Figure 2 Collective narrative (Archetti 2012: 16)

In this perspective, according to Archetti (2012), over the time, interaction with other people and other groups continues. One identity will meet another identity, as well as knowledge and action. This is how individual narrative would develop collective narrative when it meets other narratives. Regarding this, Alberto Melluci examined that “…social movements [as also terrorist groups] offer individuals the collective possibility of affirming themselves as actors and of finding an equilibrium between self-recognition and hetero-recognition” (Melucci 1982: 72 in Schlesinger 1991: 154). From this, terrorist groups only exist because of the present of the people who shared their similar narratives—shared their identity, knowledge, and action (see figure 2).

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