Counter-terror chiefs liken media coverage of atrocities to propaganda

Counter-terror chiefs liken media coverage of atrocities to propaganda

Counter-terror chiefs have warned Britain’s media to tone down their reporting of terrorist atrocities amidst fears that they could be spreading propaganda on behalf of groups such as IS.

Urging a ‘fine balance’ to be struck between covering events and helping to ‘radicalise and influence’ Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told a gathering of the Society of Editors: “I do think there are some ways that you can rein back what you do. There is a fine balance. If [IS] are looking to influence, you have to ask, are you helping them to influence.”

Fears have long been expressed within law enforcement that the media can unwittingly play a part in the propaganda efforts of terrorists by giving them the oxygen of publicity and serving as a recruiting sergeant.

Adopting a similar line Rowley’s boss, Net commissioner Cressida Dick called for a ‘reset’ in relations between journalists and the police by pledging greater ‘transparency’ in official briefings, asserting that relationships between journalists and officers ‘should not be categorized in the same way as a relationship with a criminal’.

Relations between journalists and the force plumbed new depths when more than thirty journalists were arrested or charged as part of an investigation into inappropriate payments – none of the individuals concerned were ever convicted.

Dick remains unrepentant however, stating: “I won’t apologise for Operation Elveden – corrupt police officers and other public officials were locked up for taking money for information – that is a good result.”

Last year French media enacted a voluntary ban on publicising terrorists.

John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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