Award Date

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

First Committee Member

Tiffiany O. Howard

Second Committee Member

John P. Tuman

Third Committee Member

Dennis C. Pirages

Fourth Committee Member

Paul J. Traudt

Number of Pages

165

Abstract

Terrorism feeds on an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. In order for a terrorist group to achieve its purpose, its activities must be known to a mass audience. Due to the often isolated nature of the conflicts in which they are involved, terrorists groups must attract and maintain the attention of the mass media, through which they access a broader audience and gain salience. This relationship begs the question: will less media attention lead to less terrorism as groups lose their audience and are forced to use legitimate means of enacting change? This thesis analyzes the pattern of media trends and terrorist attacks over the lifespan of four distinct organizations and finds that periods of low media attention are often followed by periods of increased terrorism as the group tries to regain international relevance. Should the news media then continue to ignore the conflict, the terrorist group is forced to turn to legitimate means, or slowly die off. This study has implications for the news media as freedom of the press and the public's right to know are pitted against the potential for reduced casualties should the media be prohibited from reporting on terrorist activities.

Keywords

ETA (Organization); Freedom of the press; Hamas; Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyah; Hezbollah; Hizballah (Lebanon); International media; Kurdish Workers' Party; Partiya Karkeren Kurdistane; Terrorism; Terrorism and mass media

Disciplines

International Relations | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication | Political Science

Language

English


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