shivers at the mention of terrorism. The international news storylines mostly
present two hegemonic undertakings: the economic and power game ruling blocks
comprising US, Russia, China, EU and so forth, on one hand, and the true
battlegrounds of ruling blocks in Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq
and so forth, one the other. May be the storylines presented by the
international media is not the true reflection of undertakings the world should
know, and a lot more remain under presented behind those storylines. On the top
of that, media houses play a twisted role in creating antagonists and
protagonists in international geopolitics and assigning roles to different
terrorism, as we knew and believed once, has been changed in last couple of
decades since the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001. Not
only terrorism has been changed after the World Trade Centre in the emergence
of new actors in the international power game but also it changed the
perception of people about the religions and geopolitics; especially Islam and
Middle East. In last March, A terror attack killed around fifty Muslims and
left many injured during the Friday prayer in a mosque in Christchurch, New
Zealand. The international media mostly labelled it as shooting and the
terrorist as a shooter. The terrorist live-streamed the whole attack like an
animated videogame and inscribed some hate speeches on the gun he used in the
attack. The incident in the Christchurch, New Zealand, is not the only attack
on Muslim communities in recent years but one of the many incidents and it is
After the Christchurch incident in New
Zealand, a massive terror attack demanded a death toll amounting 253 innocent
lives on Ester Sunday last month in Sri Lanka. After the terror attack Sri
Lanka, international news storylines undoubted labelled it as a terrorist
activity and proactively probed the link with the local and international
terrorist groups like Islamic State (IS) and the local terrorist group National
While it is beyond the proof yet whether the
Sri Lanka Attack was a consequence of New Zealand attack, the proactive role of
international media was noticeable to make an express linkage between the two.
Media decide who should be called a terrorist based on his region or colour not
the fact that terrorism ransoms the equally without the consideration of
religious or colour of victims. A handful number of people died in Sri Lanka
terror attack were Muslims.
This is a
one-type of bias mass media play in response to terrorism. But in regard to
terrorism there are numerous biased and nonsense roles mass media have been
playing. It is said that a terrorist is always successful because he produces
the level of fears and panics that changes the courses of longstanding
societal, political and interfaith interactions among different groups,
communities, regions and countries.
While mass media only probe the linkage of
religions with the terrorism, they hardly concentrate on economic, political
and social motives of terrorism. Either a mosque or a church or a chapel is
mostly targeted and this strategy of terrorism gives it an universal advantage.
For example, if a mosque in New Zealand is attacked, it raises the concern of
Muslim communities living in West and Muslin-minority countries around the
world, on the other hand, if a Church is attacked anywhere of the World it
raises the concern of non-Muslims about Muslims around the World; while an
attack on non-religious places may not reach such an universal advantage. Media
grabs a terrorist activity, widely publishes it, links it with religions,
especially with Islam, and complements the objective terrorism dividing
societies, and creating fears and panics.
terrorism in any form is a threat to the peaceful coexistence around the world.
However, the place that faces the problem faces an extensive and long-lasting
challenge. Historically, Sri Lanka is a politically turbulent place just ending
a phase of civil conflict with the LTTE around a decade ago. Last year it faced
an anti-Muslin riots that destroyed a mosque and raised a communal tension
around the country.
acknowledged by local and international security agencies, they had prior
knowledge of an upcoming attack. Despite the fact of prior knowledge, security
agencies in Sri Lanka did not take any preventive action. Sri Lanka is
currently undergoing some political transitions that started from October 2018.
President Maithripala Sirisena announced that Mahindra Rajapaksa is the new
Prime Minister. Although, by various forces Sirisena removes Rajapaksa and
returned Wickremesinghe. In this unstable situation miscreant takes the
advantage of terror attack. The terror attack on the verge of that transition
and the non-preventive activity by security forces indicate a political
connection with the terror attack. Some block might have been taking advantage
of this turbulent situation. Historically, the Sri Lankan turbulence with the
LTTE was fuelled by different external and internal blocks. Instead of going
with the flow, mass media should play an investigate role to probe the other
reasons like political, economic and geopolitical reasons behind the terror
Christchurch attack, the terrorist Brenton Tarrant live-streamed the attack on
Facebook. The live-streamed video was reposted and rebroadcasted millions of
times in different local and international media around the world. While it is
clear that Brenton Tarrant wanted the world to watch the video, by reposting and
rebroadcasting the video media complemented a terrorist’s objective. This
tendency of media was seen in some previous terrorist attacks. In 2016, the
terror attack in a residential hotel in Dhaka was live-streamed by several
national and international media.
In recent India-Pakistan border conflict media
from both countries played a provocative role. Some media house in India
compared the Indian invasion in Pakistan with the patriotism. This is
definitely a breach of media’s broadcast standards.
In case of
Sri Lanka terror attack, media relied on previous IS attacks to probe a linkage
between the IS and the local National Thowfeek Jamaath. It is, however, true
that attacks by IS or local terrorist group cannot be sidestepped. But the
focus on IS and local terror group targeted some local innocent people and
Muslims that created another bias and discrimination on the local community.
Moreover, the focus on the IS and its associated group may shade the actual
perpetuator if some group other than ISIS is responsible for the attack. Even
some media proactively created a presuming linkage of Sri Lankan attack with
the Christchurch attack. This again aggravated the situation in Sri Lanka and
around the world.
generally presumed that media houses are concerned about the increasing the TRP
and public viewing volumes by broadcasting controversial news storylines. This
sick competition leads media houses globally to go beyond their broadcasting
standards. Media is said, however, to be the “Fourth Estate” of democracy
whereas increasing the TRP or viewing volumes by sick competition is an
opposite to the notion. There should have some ethical standards and
regulations regarding broadcasting the news and storylines grounded on the
policy of harnessing communities and promoting global peace not dividing the
world into pieces.
Source: Modern Diplomacy