Media and Terrorism

We’ve been discussing the importance of media as a form of accessible communication that transcends linguistic and cultural barriers. I wanted to address the topic of media being used as a form of terrorism. In the past few months ISIS has been releasing a slew of videos showing the killing of captured American, British and Japanese citizens. These videos have become increasingly professional in the way that they are edited and produced. In a recent video release from ISIS, where they light a captured pilot on fire inside of a cage, the editing shown is of noteworthy sophistication. There are multiple fades and cuts that correspond to the sound track, along with subtitles and captions and other filming techniques. This illustrates the readily accessible nature of modern media, as well as the ease with which this kind of viral terrorist video can be spread.

We like to think that people willing to commit such disgusting, inhuman acts are primitive and unintelligent. It helps us come to terms with the fact that humans can carry out such atrocities on one another. Surely ISIS and similar organizations are blinded by their misguided efforts to follow their religion, as well as the inherently hateful nature of what they believe is a correct interpretation of Islam. However, these recent video releases suggest the opposite. They appear much more sophisticated than the average youtube video made on iMovie. I’m sure that with practice this kind of filming is accessible to anyone who is sufficiently motivated. At the same time, however, the more recent videos have been reminiscent of popular action movies in their somewhat sophisticated filming and editing techniques. Now that we are in a world that is connected by the internet, acts of terrorism such as these are likely to become more prevalent. Nations attempting to extinguish organizations like ISIS will have to create new strategies to combat a generation of terrorists who are using Facebook and YouTube alongside their violent acts of terrorism and radicalized political agendas.

One thought on “Media and Terrorism”

  1. I read an article about a month ago on this very topic and how gradually there has been gradual cinematographic changes in the shooting if the ISIS executions. In the article they highlighted how in each new video the sophistication of the shooting, camera angles, and lighting progressively became more professional. This led me to wonder how this might begin to affect the overall impact that the ISIS videos have on the public, and if the increasing quality of the videos actually will begin to increase the overall emotional traction of them. It’s always interesting to see topics like this discussed, and I think it provides a good example of how cinematic expertise can affect and trickle into political and social issues.

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