New Terrorism and Media

New Terrorism and Media

Mahmoud Eid (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5776-2.ch012
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New terrorism has been recently considered a new type of terrorism. The terrorism characteristics that have instigated the introduction of the term stem from the modern evolutions in most aspects of terrorism, such as its organizational structure, financing, recruitment, training, motivations, tactics, reach, targets, and lethality. This chapter reviews discussions surrounding new terrorism, explains its key characteristics and features, and demonstrates the dual role of the media and information technologies. Distinctions from conventional terrorism recognize it as loose, decentralized cell-based networks, using high-intensity weapons, religiously and vaguely motivated, using asymmetrical methods for maximum casualties, and highly skillful in using new media and information technologies. Moreover, the most critical features focus on how the functioning of new terrorism adapts new media technologies, which in turn, contribute to all of its aspects. However, it is concluded that regardless of the label—new or old—attention should be focused on the act and the actors, whether the ways they function utilize the conventional or adapt with the most recent technologies, media, and weapons, and most crucially, recognizing how fast and efficient terrorists are in utilizing the most advanced media and information technologies.
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What In New Terrorism Is “New”

A few characteristics and features have been most common in terrorism in recent decades; hence, some tend to label it as “new.” Terrorism is argued now to be new in structure, financing, recruitment, training, motivations, tactics, reach, targets, and lethality.

New terrorism is decentralized (Adkins, 2013). New terrorists are less-cohesive organizational entities (Hoffman, 1999). Traditionally, terrorists have relied on state support and sponsorship (Jenkins, 2006; Spencer, 2006). Recently, the financing of terrorism most commonly comes from illegal sources such as credit card fraud, video piracy, drug trafficking, legal business investments, and donations from wealthy charities and individuals (Spencer, 2006). New terrorism is no longer limited to traditional organizations that are exercised by conflicts within specific nations; instead the battleground for new terrorist groups is global (Mythen, 2013). Targets of the new terrorism are also more global in reach (Burnett &Whyte, 2005; Lesser, 1999) and tend to be indiscriminate (Duyvesteyn, 2004). New terrorism is more dangerous and more difficult to counter than conventional terrorism in that it has a new network structure, facilitated by information technologies, amateur personnel, willingness to cause mass casualties perhaps by using chemical, biological, nuclear, or radiological weapons, and most importantly is no longer in need of state-sponsorship (Tucker, 2001).

Gus Martin (2006) summarizes the most distinguishing characteristics of new terrorism as follow:

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