Ethics, Decision-Making, and Risk Communication in the Era of Terroredia: The Case of ISIL

Ethics, Decision-Making, and Risk Communication in the Era of Terroredia: The Case of ISIL

Mahmoud Eid (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJT.2016070106
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Abstract

Terrorism today is one of the most frequent global severe stress situations. The advanced and widespread new media and information technologies as well as modern tactics of terrorism make the public of any nation in exposure, directly and indirectly, to uncertain potential acts of terrorism. The relationship between terrorists and media personnel has grown widely influential, and has been described recently by the term terroredia, in which the public is the main target of both terrorism and the media. Both responsibility and rationality are fundamental weights for the effectiveness of risk communication during times of terrorism. This paper critically analyzes how policymakers in several Western countries have communicated to the public, through the media, the risk of terrorist attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against their individuals and societies. The study uncovers that rationality and responsibility are lacking in Western media decision-making regarding the risk of ISIL's potential activities.
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Risk Communication And Public Safety

The term “risk” involves a focus on potential harm (e.g., Burgess, 2010; Etkin & Ho, 2007). It is considered “a frame that creates contexts which bring together an ‘object of risk’ (a hazard or source of potential harm), an ‘object at risk’ (a target of potential harm) and an evaluation (implicit or explicit) of human consequences” (Mairal, 2008, p. 42). Risk “represents the possible occurrence of a harmful event that has some known likelihood of happening over time” (Comfort, 2005, p. 338). Risk inevitably involves emotional and intuitive responses, which impact the deliberation process of how to deal with, or mitigate risk (Roeser, 2010). Responses to risk can be intuitive, affective, and irrational or deliberative and rational; however, intuition tends to dominate over deliberation, which can lead to either an overestimation or an underestimation of one’s potential risk—in which both are dangerous.

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