Questioning Media Responsibility during Terrorism

Questioning Media Responsibility during Terrorism

Mahmoud Eid (University of Ottawa, Canada)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0988-2.ch025
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The media's dual role during times of terrorism can be as useful as the most effective security and political counterterrorism measures and can be as harmful as exacerbating terrorist events to the worst humanitarian disasters. Media decision-making processes, therefore, are integral to achieving more desired outcomes. This chapter questions the effectiveness of media performance during times of terrorism through the examination of their decision-making processes in terms of rationality and responsibility. The numerous media decisions that are usually made under severe stress during times of terrorism require adherence to both ethical standards and rational thinking. Strategic and goal-directed decision-making that is based on rational choice approach and game theory can help enhance the quality of media decisions. Ethical and socially responsible media performance is fundamental for effective communication. Interweaved, responsible and rational media decision-making are integral to the effectiveness of media decision-making during times of terrorism towards achieving more desired outcomes.
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Media And Counterterrorism Decision-Making

Communication, in general, is a decision-making process (Eid, 2008a). In any conflict situation, including terrorist attacks, communication can help define the structure of a conflict so that adversaries can perceive accurately the relative values of the interests at stake when making a decision: “Communication helps to establish the ‘rules’ of the game in a confrontation, so that the adversaries share common assumptions about the kinds of actions that are legitimate and those that are tacitly, if not formally, prohibited . . . Communication may minimize the likelihood of miscalculation” (Williams, 1976, p. 182).

The media, in particular, play fundamental role in the decision-making process by communicating messages and information about/to the involved actors (terrorists, policymakers, and publics). The media decision-making during terrorist events occurs under conditions of high tension and severe stress, which may negatively affect the functioning of the media and consequently their decisions. Therefore, it is important to look into these decisions and search for ways to enhance the decision-making process.

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