Marshall McLuhan provides a reflective
assertion on terrorism with his cogent
conviction that without communication,
terrorism would not exist. Thus, the overall
effectiveness of terrorists largely depends on
communicating their activities for public
consumption to strengthen their ego..

The core and intended messages that terrorists
desperately communicate are diverse. They
unleash profoundly psychological afflictions
such as extreme fears, severe pains and intense
panic. Their dreadful messages also include
coercing the political behaviour of
governments, communities or specific social
groups to corroborate with their political
objectives. They wreck colossal havoc to
establish their relevance, and so on. In essence,
their modus operandi is exclusively and
psychologically traumatizing via the scenario
of mass economic and human devastations.
We are horribly bombarded with the news of
wanton terrorists’ atrocities in the mass media.
We are fed with the information about mass
killings of innocent lives by the deadly
terrorists. We are treated to the onslaught of
the terrorists’ enormous brutality. We are
presented to the tragic narrations of how
terrorists create hell for their defenceless
victims. Through the mass media
communication, we capture the state of fatal
despair, unconstricted pessimism, social
affliction and emotional deprivation torturing
the mammoth crowd among whom are
orphans and widows.

The mass media are the tragic theatre where
we hear, read and watch terrorists’ production
of very ugly episodes. Over the years,
terrorists have gained sound knowledge and
understanding of how the media inadvertently
function for them thus, exploiting them to
aggrandize their publicity. When terrorists
prudently select targets for the execution of
their attacks to generate the best media
coverage, they do that for boosting the art of
effective communication and its adverse
effects on the audience. We can recall how the
killings of worshippers at the Kano Central
Mosque and Madalla church attack among
others solicited wide media coverage.

We must painstakingly scrutinise and evaluate
the terrorists’ psychological make-up and
discover how it conspicuously unmasks the
communicational element of terrorism which is
substantially elevated by the media. Some
scholars unanimously contest that media are
indeed doing terrorists’ work for them due to
their coverage and the choice of language in
the aftermath of destructive attacks. This
resulted to observational study culminating
into the conceptual evolution of what is called
symbiotic relationship between the media and
terrorists. Though this relationship may be
equated to a forced union, one of its prominent
and harmful signs is the phenomenal “media-
oriented strategy” which suggests that
terrorists are conscious of and manipulate the
media to propel and enrich their messages.

Terrorists and media experts are aware that
with the media as promoter and custodian of
news, terrorism activities are amplified by the
media to reach broader and global audience.
Thus, a domineering perception of media and
terrorists’ relationship emanates, exposes and
castigates the media with unreserved apology.
The piece published in The Peninsula, a Qatari
daily of the 26th May 2014 on the topic,
Terrorism and Media: A Symbiotic Relationship
is a typical example. The writer, Dr.
Mohammed Kirat simply and critically
observed:” Modern terrorism is media

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