Media coverage of violent extremism and terrorism
An assessment of the needs of journalists, journalism students, and spokespersons of public institutions
Baseline study assessing needs of stakeholders in media coverage of violent extremism and terrorism
This baseline study aims at identifying and assessing the needs of journalists, students of journalism and representatives of public institutions to tackle the phenomenon of violent extremism and radicalism. The study was conducted by using a complex research method that integrates quantitative and qualitative elements. This report aimed at understanding the situation on the ground, problems and needs of each of the other groups mentioned above. The report revealed that there is a need for more commitment to improve the level of professional capacities of all actors in order to face the challenge posed by violent extremism. The survey conducted showed that there was a lack of sufficient knowledge and training on the part of journalists on violent extremism and terrorism. Lack of training is evident even amongst media spokespersons and communication officials in public institutions. The findings of this study revealed that the cooperation between all actors involved is not at satisfactory levels, and that there is a climate of mistrust between stakeholders. Journalists have rated their sources of information and their grades in some cases have shown a low level of trust in official sources. A case in point is the perception of journalists about the willingness to cooperate on the part of state authorities, religious communities and civil society organizations. Students of journalism and mass communication were also included in the survey, where one of the main findings was that they thought that it would be helpful to introduce classes and modules on religious affairs, extremism and radicalism during their university education. Finally, the study also highlighted the need for training of spokespersons in state institutions and agencies, and especially the establishment of a working relationship with the media, as one of the ways to improve the transparency of public institutions. The baseline study was produced with the financial support of the European Union, in the framework of a project managed by the International Center of Excellence Countering Violent Extremism HEDAYAH.