A Complex Matter: Examining Reporting on Terrorism in the UK

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This Occasional Paper analyses the role of media reporting on the impact of terrorism and offers recommendations to both the police and the media on how to improve their relationship and how they communicate and report on terrorism.

The UK continues to confront the ever-changing threat of terrorism, making it essential to understand the relationship between terrorism and the media. As a form of communicative political violence which attempts to influence an audience, terrorists may seek to use mass media infrastructure to further their objectives. 

This paper examines the potential impacts of reporting in British newspapers on terrorism. Through interviews with stakeholders in the media and the police, it also explores the practical challenges and fluid dynamics of the modern media environment and their contribution to the impact of media reporting on terrorism. 

Building on this, it explores the value of further guidance specific to reporting on terrorism, as well as the importance of a positive information relationship between the police and the media. 

Watch the recording of the paper launch event


Dr Jessica White

Senior Research Fellow

Terrorism and Conflict

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