Monday, 19 December 2016



Week 3, Week 4
Exploring reading materials, no entry.

Week 5
Understanding and analysing essay questions, provoked question of chosen topic:
How does terrorist group attract people to recruit them?

Week 6
Basic knowledge on terrorism

Week 7
Terrorism and Journalism
ISIS and social media

Week 8
Answer on how is terrorists' ideology incorporated to recruiter's thinking.

The more the research done, the more the questions appear

"Controversy revealed online" is terrorist uses media to influence people's mind, while the "creative professionals" are press media and message creator on social media. I have done the basic understanding of their background and relationship.

If I link the researched information to essay question understanding in first entry, they are all connected:

How does art help to resolve real world issues such as terrorism?

- What makes terrorists' message so scary? Death.
Why does human fear death?

- Just like Nelson Mandela was sentenced to prison, can a nation law (such as Sedition Act) that is designed for terrorist identity freedom fighters as terrorist, as they are against and harm the government just like terrorism?

- What is ISIS' campaign plan? How does it relate to sociology theories?
If I relate it to Internet Cultures lectures:

- Why is dark web so hard to access? How it works? Is it categorized as intranet? What is its role in computer network?

I would like to decode ISIS' campaign in essay.
Essay general structure:

- List out all ISIS actions to recruit people, suggest ISIS integrated campaign plan. Access their real website if possible.
- Analyse their strategy: how effective it is, why? Relate to social psychology theories.
- Media's approach to terrorism
- Suggest media/art-solutions to combat terrorism.

Consultation (20 Dec 2016)

Investigate a major controversy that unfolded online. Discuss its relevance to creative professionals.

Creative professional in this essay question is more refer to art and design field, relate and narrow down the topic to them instead of press media and social media messenger. Study a case to broaden the topic. Reconstructed essay structure.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

How is terrorists' ideology incorporated to recruiter's thinking?

ISIS is not the earliest who fully use the internet but al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda has three categories of websites - the official website that leader convey their speech, recognized figure of group member who discuss strategies and websites created by followers or supporters . Therefore I shall open range of terrorist group research instead of just focuses on ISIS. 

Many pre-terrorists were seeking solution of their anger on internet, eventually influenced or brainwashed by extremist ideology. In my opinion, many jihadists are not really join terrorist group for religion's sake, but they use it as an expression or revenge to the world. Their extremist mindset is true, but their real intention is never as simple as just for jihad movement, it involves many personal criteria that is hard to understand by outsiders. Lets look it in realistic way, joining ISIS can solve their poverty problem as they provides shelter and food, give (brainwash) them a reason to the road of glory, just like how the young men were persuaded to join army in World Wars.

Diagram 1: A girl calling her sisters to join ISIS with her on Twitter.

Why does female joining ISIS?

First, we loook at why women still join ISIS as we always heard women being stoned and raped in caliph? Founder of a feminist group Zainab Salbi explained that women who want to join ISIS can separate into two type, the first group is young teenage girls who believe they can go back to the golden era of Islam kingdom; another group is elder women who think men as their provider of their living, they live by centralizing men as if they are born to serve men. Therefore, they follow what their husband says, including joining ISIS to serve Allah. For these women, ISIS is not wrong at all in punishing women to death, as they see ISIS as moral police. Those who were punished, that is their retribution (Frej, 2014).

Diagarm 2: Anwar al-Awlaki in 2001 when he was an imam in mosque (Shane, 2015).

Diagram 3: Anwar al-Awlaki in 2010, a photography of him with weapon used in al-Qaeda propaganda (Shane, 2015).

Video propaganda

Anwar al-Awlaki was an American Islamic lecturer, black listed by United State as terrorist as he was planning terrorist operation. Searching his name on YouTube will result in video lecture explaining the Lives of Prophets, and as well video such as "Never Trust a Non-Muslim" as well. On Dailymotion, I found his Call to Jihad. After watching his videos, I found that this man is very persuasive in speaking as he has well-spoken English and Arabic, quoted sentences with Muslim's al-Quran, and emotionally provocative tone. He accused discrimination of America on Muslim. 

According to him, his "brothers" were cheering when they heard the news of America sending army to Yemen, because finally they have a chance to fight them, they are dare to die. So he challenged America. In the end of the video, he emphasized that they themselves are justice, protecting their homeland and religion while America is evil.

He generated sympathy on "opression" of Muslims, for them to feel that Islam is threaten and they need to protect it through the holy war. At the same time he encourage them to join the group by showing the followers their ability in war for them to trust. This is a successful propaganda even a girl from Colorado turned to be a sincere follower of terrorist group and even planned her trip to join them. Read her full transformation that she posted on AskFm at here

Social Media

Diagram 4: An ISIS pizza restaurant (Katz, 2016). 

ISIS content on social media is far beyond only beheading videos, they have other elements which aimed to bring out "needs, fears, desires, alienation and frustrations" (Katz, 2016). Despite the violent words in the diagrams of previous post, they also display daily lives in caliph, just like they have a holistic environment as other country.

In summary, all the criterias provide by ISIS fits the Maslow hierarchy of needs. How can it not attractive to people?

Sympathy and desire to protect religion
Serve men
Trust of having winning chance


Person who is killed because of their religion or beliefs.

Prejudice against Islam or Muslim.


Frej, W. (2014) “ISIS Female”: Why women are drawn to join. [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 18 December 2016)

Katz, R. (2016)  The Complexity of Eradicating IS Propaganda Online. [Online] Available at:  (Accessed on 18 December 2016)

Shane, S. (2015) The Lessons of Anwar al-Awlaki. New York Times. [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 18 December 2016)

United States Government Publishing Office (2011) Jihadist Use of Social Media - How to Prevent Terrorism and Preserve Innovation. [Online] Available at:   (Accessed on 18 December 2016)

Saturday, 17 December 2016

ISIS and Social Media

Diagram 1 (Katz, 2016)

Why terrorism are built into social media material?

With postmodern technology, the communication of terrorists is not just one-way message, but it gets respond too. This shows that message from terrorists impacts directly on communities (Cole, 2006). In a democratic society, media is really a convenient method for them, as it is cheap and has high accessibility.

The wall of media is broke down from institution to individual. New media allowed every average people to communicate and spread message. Compared to the time before new media, objectivity, exclusive, front line, power of influence and creativity had shifted to every internet user. When something happens, people can even live stream the moment on their social media even long before the news reached to media institution. From here, we know that people skipped media and straight headed to social media to join an incident. Now, owning the crowd's attention had became a key to be competitive among media.

However, there is something about press media which cannot be replaced by social media, which is content's credibility. Reader or audience will still check with well-known press media if there are rumours spread on something important. Press media realised the benefits of social media in communicating too, so many had incorporated themselves in social media. They gathered information provided by internet users and confirm the reliability of it before they broadcast to public. This is the good example of turning the disadvantage into advantage for themselves.

What is happening on social media?

A database company Statista showed that daily time spent on social media of worldwide internet users have a stable increase every year. In 2016, usage of social media has reached 118 minutes per day. Among all the media that is suitable for message disseminating message in worldwide, Facebook has the most number of user which is 1.71 billion, followed by YouTube of over 1 billion users, and Twitter of 320 million users (Smith, 2016).

In 2014, there were estimated 46000 Twitter accounts used by ISIS supporters. In order to track down terrorists’ action, U.S. National Counterterrorism Center needs the 1.71 million Facebook users to respond and report the post that is suspicious, therefore social media users share a responsibility in countering terrorism. Other than using well known mass media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, ISIS uses dark web to communicate message. They are not visible on search engine just like other 90% of web pages in internet world. These social media activities generated from different place on earth decentralized the data and make it hard to track the accurate location of ISIS operation.

Watch info above in video:

1. How ISIS mastered Internet recruitment. Link
2. A look at ISIS' scare tactics. Link
3. How ISIS uses the internet. Link

Although the articles I that have read stated it is so easy to access and be in touch with terrorist, I tried to find ISIS account but the only result that I could find is the news suspended their accounts. At last I found that in YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter came to an agreement to share a "fingerprint" central database, in order to help identify and remove terrorists content (Katz, 2016). On February 2016, Twitter announced that they had suspended over 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 (Twitter, 2016), the press described it as the war of Twitter to combat terrorism. It is the incredible amount of accounts that surprised me, although some of the accounts must have working by robots, but action of these social media is totally all right before it became overwhelming.

Screen captures of ISIS or their supporter's Tweet that I found on Google Image. Threat in tone and manner, but they must have some other type of tone in communication to different kind of audience. I need to research it further. 

Meanwhile, there are online accounts that against ISIS too. Haters vs Haters.
But their action just fits to what ISIS want, which is catch attention of public and produce hates towards religion. A smart person who really understand and decided to against ISIS will not do this, at least not in this manner which humiliate other religion.



New media
Mass communication using digital technology, sound and image that is related to internet. (Socha, B. and Eber-Schmid, B., 2014)

Baqiya wa Tatamaddad
It means "Remaining and Expanding", ISIS' slogan.


Founded by WilliamMcCants, analyst of Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) at USA. It is an active blog that explain Jihadist movement around the global. It was featured by Wired Magazine, New York Times and Technorati for its political and military studies.

Contributed by a group of researchers focusing of extremism. They update news and reviews on these topics.


Cole, B. (2006) Conflict, Terrorism and the Media in Asia. New York: Routledge.

Katz, R. (2016) The Complexity of Eradicating IS Propaganda Online. Insite Blog on Terrorism & Extremism. [Online] Available at:  (Accessed on 17 Dec 2016)

Smith, K. (2016) Marketing: 96 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts for 2016. brandwatch. [Online] Available at:  (Accessed on 16 Dec 2016)

Socha, B. and Eber-Schmid, B. (2014) What is New Media? New Media Institute. [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 16 Dec 2016)

Statista (2016) Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2016 (in minutes). [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 16 Dec 2016)

Twitter (2016) An update on our efforts to combat violent extremism. [Online] Available at:  (Accessed on 17 Dec 2016)

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Terrorism and Journalism

Diagram 1: An aid worker, David Haines' beheading video by ISIS is reported on CNN news (Botelho, 2014). The video was posted on website of the terror group and then 
played on broadcast station.

Journalism being used by terrorists

In anime series Death Note, the killer Kira sent an audio tape to TV station and commanded them to broadcast it to the whole country. Investigator L stopped them due to worry of Kira will gain public support by publishing it, but director of TV station was happy to received such record tapes, as it can be their exclusive report to gain more attention from public compared to other TV stations.

The scenario is similar to media today that reporting the news of terrorists. With or without intention, even though it is their job and responsibility to report current happenings, it help terrorists in spreading ideology and message, eventually causes fear across global, and it was the terrorists' objective (Nacos, 2015).

There is say that death and blood is the elements that make news exciting and interesting. Its impact is so huge, that is why Death of Marat and The Vulture and the Little Girl in previous post are so symbolic and memorable to public. At first, death and destruction cannot be avoided in reporting on terrorism because it is exactly what they are doing, therefore, is there any method to carry out journalists' responsibilities to report the truth, yet it will not help to achieve terrorists' objective?

There comes the article of The Media Must Stop Encouraging Terrorists, Marty Rudoy called media to filter the words of terrorists that might mislead people of their real intention before publishing it. For example, reveal the polished words use of terrorists on news article. Remove the unnecessary elements from news report which terrorist wants public to see it, such as bloody beheading videos. When readers want to know it, they can search it online, do not make thing too easy for terrorists (Rudoy, 2016).

Is there any guidelines for reporters in dealing with terrorism?

There are many guidelines on terrorism according to different institute of editorial or broadcasting. The rules including report quickly and full of responsibility. Reporters are require to be accurate and careful in using sensitive words, do not display a wrong image that all Muslims are terrorists. They need to be rational in sensational coverage and be neutral towards terrorism, because the graphics or language used in headlines have huge impact on public especially after a disaster.

Journalist's guidelines to refer:

1. Charlie Beckett. Fanning the Flames: Reporting on Terror in a Networked World. Link
2. Society of Professional Journalists. Guidelines for Countering Racial, Ethnic and Religious Profiling. Link
3. Canadian Journal of Communication. Media Coverage of Acts of Terrorism: Troubling Episodes and Suggested Guidelines. Link
4. BBC. Terrorism: Language when Reporting Terrorism. Link

Although reporting the acts of terror is helping them to spread the fear and message, but we cannot stop telling world the truth that there is immorality happening on another side of earth. We have to know it but do not fall into terrorists' trap of hate.

Researcher of relationship between media and terrorism

Brigitte L. Nacos
Dr. Nacos is an expert on mass media, public opinion, and decision-making as well as on terrorism and counterterrorism. Key concept "marriage of media and terrorist" from her published book Terrorism and Counterterrorism (2015) contributed to main idea of this post.

Self-reflection on work progress

I spent the first two weeks to explore introduction books on media studies and terrorism. The biggest result that I have gained is direction of thinking from the book More than Meet the Eyes. It provide a way to ask questions - how does it relate to media? how does the media incorporate to people's mind? My favourite quote from book is "what is absent is same important as what is present", it reminds me not to overlook the unseen thing and view a topic from different perspective.

Another book that I found is Dr. Mahathir's Terrorism and the Real Issues, it is a book that wrote from insight of a Muslim. As most of the resources found online are contributed by western researcher, an opinion from Muslim might provide a different view. "Only Muslim can heal Muslim" is a sentence that I found while exploring this topic today. We really need to stand on their shoes other than look at it from a rational outsider's perspective.

I have not really relate "controversy unfolded online" to "creative professional" yet, topic on terrorism and social media will be discussed on coming posts. I will analyse strategy of  ISIS and what makes people attracted to join it.


Beckett, C. (2016) Fanning the Flames: Reporting on Terror in a Networked World. Columbia Journalism Review. [Online] Available at:  (Accessed on 12 December 2016)

BBC (n.d.) Terrorism: Language when Reporting Terrorism. [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 12 December 2016)

Botelho, G. (2014) ISIS executes British aid worker David Haines; Cameron vows justice. CNN. (Accessed on 12 December 2016)

Canadian Journal of Communication. (n.d.) Media Coverage of Acts of Terrorism: Troubling Episodes and Suggested Guidelines. [Online] Available at:  (Accessed on 12 December 2016)

Nacos, B.L. (2015) Terrorism and Counterterrorism. New York: Routledge.

Rudoy, M. (2016) The Media Must Stop Encouraging Terrorists. The Huffington Post. [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 12 December 2016)

Society of Professional Journalists. (n.d.) Guidelines for Countering Racial, Ethnic and Religious Profiling. [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 12 December 2016)

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Basic Knowledge on Terrorism

What defines terrorism?

According to FBI and Dr. Lemieux, a professor in Police and Security Studies, terrorists create fears using violence that threaten human life. Their actions are against law as it destructs government policy and action.

There is terrorism when there is human try to affect politic using violence. The history can be traced to 1st century AD when Sicarii group of Jewish Zealots opposed to Roman occupation. The word "terrorism" first appeared during French Revolution in 1789, defined as "system or rule of terror" (Roberts, 2002).

I am focusing on ISIS, as it is more relevant to the essay topic for its heavy use on media. Other examples of terrorist group: Abu Sayyaf, Al-Qaeda, Kul Klux Klan.

What ISIS is? What is their intention?

Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is lead by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, it is a Sunni militant jihadist organisation. Its ambition is to build a caliphate through global war that emerge across America and Europe, and eventually lead Muslims to battle against "disbelievers"). Besides, Baghdadi declared that IS does not recognize man-made borders of nations and any citizenship besides Islam. They also intends to purify Islam by eliminating Shia Muslims (Lister, 2015).

Diagram 1: ISIS territory map in 2016.

Diagram 2: Black labeled the areas that ISIS want to control (Urban, 2014).

What is the beginning of all this chaos?

At the beginning of 20th century, new borders of Ottoman Empire had been drawn by British and it was separated into today's Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Kuwait. As the separation was carried out without proper consideration (the British counselor just use a pencil and ruler and draw a straight line on map to separate it), the natural-formed region based on geography and population was broke down, and three ethnic groups of Sunni, Shia and Kurdish were forced gathered to form Iraq. Sunni and Shia is opposed to each other since the long history after death of Nabi Muhammad. After British colonial left, Sunni's Saddam Hussein dictated Iraq, he launched Iran-Iraq war that killed over 100,000 Iraqis, due to his worry of Shia's rebellious. After several times of Kurds attempted to form their independent country, Saddam launched al-Anfal campaign to eliminate the north Kurds. 15,000 to 180,000 of Kurds were killed in year 1988's gas poisoning.

U.S. joined the chaos in 2003 and left after 8 years. It temporary controlled the situation from getting worst. Starting from here, a perfect opportunity for terrorist arisen. 

1. When U.S. left Iraq, the immatured new government led by Shia arrested and cruelly treated Sunni civilians and leaders, even the resisting emotion spread among government army. 

2. The sudden expansion of Shias' power that took over the heart of Middle East challenged Saudi Arabia that is the most powerful Sunni's nation, At the time, Saudi Arabia was having Cold War with Iran that majority occupied by Shias. Therefore it causes the opposite position of these two country towards ISIS which is a Sunni organisation. ISIS can gain benefits from a occupation that is oppose to Shias.

3. Borders of Iraq and Syria loosen and created a hiding site for terrorists.

4. Attitude of Western power that does not want to get involved in these troubles.

ISIS get world's attention starting from 2014, when they attacked and controlled the west of Iraq (Urban, 2014). Their brutal action and cruelty even made al-Qaeda declared that they have no relationship with ISIS.

Information above in this subtopic is sourced from article From Muhammad to ISIS: Iraq’s Full Story by Tim Urban, which helped me a lot in understanding the complicated relationship happening in Middle East regarding war and terrorism. It is a good introduction rather than information pieces found on web that gave me headache in understanding it.

Attraction of joining ISIS

After studying history of Islam, I suspect that extremist Muslims might seen ISIS as an opportunity or hope in reviving the glory of Islamic kingdom. Besides, Baghdadi proclaimed that the caliph will ruled using Sunni's Syariah law even attracts the extremists for him.

Question: But first, how does ISIS shape a person into extremist that even willing to be a jihadist that might sacrify themselves in war?


1. Non-state combatant
= Unlawful combatant
an armed person who involves in action that violate law of war.

2. Rogue state
Term to describe state that restrict human rights, sponsor terroristss or approve crime activities that not allowed in other counties. The term is mostly used by United State, it is replaced by "State of Concern" since year 2000 (Wikipedia, 2016).

3. Al-Qaeda
"The Base", military group founded by Osama bin Laden in late 1980's of Afghanistan. They aimed to build a single Islamic leadership state, revenge on Christian and Jews and take control of non-Muslim of Saudi-Arabia (BBC News, n.d.).

4. War on Terror 
International campaign that against terrorism after incident of 9/11 which is launched by Al-Qaeda, the purpose is to eliminate terrorism in the world.

5. Asymmetrical warfare
Terrorism uses asymmetrical warfare tactic which a weaker group is fighting with a powerful nation. It is imbalance as military power of one side is not at the same level of their opponent. Hijacking and bombing to civilians is asymmetrical because terrorists is attacking those who does not own military weapons (Sexton, 2014).

Is military relationship between terrorist and government symmetrical? How far the ability of a country in fighting against terrorism?

(by self-reasoning and knowledge)
Terrorists location and action plan are unknown, that is their dominant advantage. They can be anyone at anywhere, which is hard to track down by government securities. Although the country has organized and well-trained army with support of the whole nation that should be easy to wipe out the enemy, but there is hard to do so as terrorists are good in playing hide-and-seek such as suicide bombing. Other than that, even though a terrorist group is eliminated, there will appear another as the mindset of terrorist does not stop spreading.

Therefore many of the country governments launched campaigns and propaganda to win people's heart and mind, which is in soft power instead of only focus on military. Warfare between terrorist and government is symmetrical, their power came from different kind of perspective and there are trying hard to win in that particular sector.


BBC News (n.d.) Quick guide: Al-Qaeda. [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 7 December 2016)

Burton, C. (2002) More than Meets the Eye: An Introduction to Media Studies. London: Hodder Education Publishers.

Cole, B. (2006) Conflict, Terrorism and the Media in Asia. New York: Routledge.

FBI (n.d.) Terrorism.  [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 5 December 2016)

Lemieux, F. (2016) What Is Terrorism, and Is it Getting Worse? The Conversation.  [Online] Available at:
(Accessed on 5 December 2016)

Lister, T. (2015) What does ISIS really want? CNN. [Online] Available at:  (Accessed on 7 December 2016)

Roberts, A. (2002) The Changing Faces of Terrorism. BBC.  [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 7 December 2016)

Urban, T. (2014) From Muhammad to ISIS: Iraq’s Full Story. Wait but why. [Online] Available at:  (Accessed on 9 December 2016)

Sexton, E. (2014) Asymmetrical warfare. Encyclopedia Britannica. [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 7 December 2016)

Wikipedia (2016) Rouge state. [Online] Available at: (Accessed on 8 December 2016)