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Thursday, 20 June 2024

Media Challenges in Covering Terrorism

The duty of a journalist is not merely to report facts. Journalists must know for what purpose the facts are reported

The Peaceful Indonesia Alliance – The work of covering terrorism events is a challenge in itself. If not careful, journalists can actually play a role as a spokesman for terrorists. Journalists have a vital role between being counter-terrorism or actually being a medium to convey the message of “terror” as desired by the perpetrators of terrorism. That’s why the media crew must be able to understand the purpose of covering an event. Journalists do not just cover but know very well the purpose of the reporting and publication.

The statement was made by Hanif Suranto, Lecturer of Communication Science at Multimedia Nusantara University in the activity titled Short Course for Strengthening Victim Perspectives in Covering Terrorism that was held by AIDA in Malang in early February. According to him, terrorism is a way of communicating. The action taken is a message of violence. “The more extreme the action taken, the more the spotlight and the more easily loaded by the media. There must not be a symbiotic mutualism between the perpetrators and the media because this is very dangerous, “he said.

Hanif assessed that media coverage of terrorism incidents is more often focused on perpetrators. This is not balanced, because on the other hand rarely a journalist covers reporting about the victim. “When the bomb incident happened, so far what was often reported was the incident and the culprit. Then where is the victim’s position? ” said Hanif.

Most of the reports about victims have only focused on the emotional level of victims when they were targeted by terrorist acts. In his opinion, the media has not covered a lot of other impacts experienced by victims on a prolonged basis, such as psychological and social impacts. But he warned, in covering the victims must also be careful. “We must know the purpose of covering the victims, lest we commodify the suffering felt by the victims,” he told 28 journalists participating in the activity.

At the end of the session, Hanif emphasized that the Journalists were involved in reporting about compensation that was the right of the victim, solidarity between the victims, to also encourage the victims to develop a counter-terrorism narrative. [LADW]

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