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Media Plays an Important Role in Preventing Radicalism and Terrorism

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By: Burhanudin Harahap )*

In the midst of the turbulent threat of radicalism and terrorism which still threatens global security, the role of the media is becoming increasingly important in efforts to prevent the spread of destructive extreme ideologies. The media is not only a channel for information, but also a platform that can shape opinions and influence people’s attitudes towards issues related to radicalism and terrorism.

In this context, the media has a big responsibility to ensure that the information conveyed does not provide space for radical propaganda. One effective way is to provide balanced coverage and present various points of view on the issue of radicalism and terrorism. In this way, society can understand the root of the problem and the impacts caused by acts of extremism.

BNPT’s Director of Prevention, Prof. Irfan Idris, explained that the radical group movement has experienced a metamorphosis and transformation that continues to change, including an increasing trend in the process of radicalization among women, children and teenagers. According to him, the mass media must be actively involved in the success of the radical terrorism prevention program, in line with the 2024 BNPT priority program.

Irfan emphasized that the responsibility to prevent radical terrorism is a shared responsibility and requires cooperation from all parties, including the mass media. In this context, mass media is expected to help build public awareness, community involvement, as well as national and community resilience in facing the threat of radicalism and terrorism.

He also underlined the importance of providing a correct understanding of the issue of terrorism to the public through accurate and responsible reporting. This can help in early detection and strengthen society’s deterrence from the spread of radical ideology of terrorism. It is hoped that cooperation between BNPT and the press can strengthen efforts to prevent criminal acts of terrorism by building synergy between the government and the mass media.

Realizing the impact that may arise from inaccurate reporting, the mass media must commit to not providing space for the radical ideology of terrorism on their platforms. Instead, they must prioritize reporting that educates, provides a better understanding of the roots of the problem, and raises awareness of the importance of maintaining peace and social stability.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (Ret.) Hamli, as a terrorism observer, highlighted the factors that trigger the spread of radicalism propaganda. According to him, the factors of communal solidarity, revenge, lack of literacy, and feelings of being treated unfairly are the entry points for dangerous transnational ideologies. Ideologies such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbut Tahrir (HT), Salafi Wahhabi, Salafi Jihad, Shia, and Tablighi Jamaah are some of them. Hamli emphasized that the mass media must play an active role in not glorifying radical terrorism in order to prevent the spread of this detrimental ideology.

Apart from that, community participation is also important in preventing the spread of radical terrorism. Hamli, also emphasized the need for society not to shun individuals who are contaminated with radical ideas, but on the contrary, they need to be embraced and invited to have good discussions. Active participation from the mass media and the public can prevent the spread of radical terrorism from its source. Thus, not only prevention from the upstream side is carried out by BNPT and security forces, but also prevention from the downstream side which involves active participation from the community and mass media.

The role of mass media in preventing radicalism and terrorism lies not only in conveying accurate information, but also in avoiding the glorification of radical terrorism. This kind of glorification can be a trigger for individuals who are susceptible to the influence of extreme ideologies to become involved in terrorist movements. Therefore, it is important for the mass media to place their reporting carefully, distance themselves from narratives that glorify or justify acts of terrorism, and focus more on in-depth analysis of the roots of the problem and prevention efforts that can be taken.

Overall, the role of mass media in preventing radicalism and terrorism cannot be underestimated. Through accurate, inspiring and responsible reporting, mass media can be an effective tool in building public awareness, strengthening society’s resilience and strengthening the foundations of democracy and pluralism in Indonesia. With synergy between the government, security forces, mass media and society, Indonesia can continue to move forward in facing the threat of radicalism and terrorism, towards a safe, peaceful and prosperous society.

By emphasizing the importance of avoiding the glorification of radicalism and terror, the mass media can act as the front guard in fighting extremism and gathering public support in prevention efforts. Collaboration between mass media, government, security institutions and society is key in building a strong and consistent narrative in rejecting all forms of violence and extremism, and promoting humanitarian values, justice and peace.

Thus, emphasizing the importance of not glorifying radical terrorism has become an integral part of the narrative regarding the role of mass media in preventing radicalism and terrorism in Indonesia. Only by taking a firm and responsible stance in conveying information can the mass media become a positive force in building a society that is inclusive, tolerant and safe from the threat of extremism.

)* The author is a media observer

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