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Dealing with Terrorism – Stick or Carrot?

Bruno S. Frey

Emphasising a positive approach to dealing with terrorism (the carrot), this book provides a critique of deterrence policy (the stick) which can be ineffective and even counterproductive, and proposes three alternative and effective anti-terrorist policies: Decentralisation reduces vulnerability to terrorist attacks. A system with many different centres is more stable due to its diversity, enabling one part to substitute for another; Positive incentives can be offered to actual and prospective terrorists not to engage in violent acts. Incentives include: reintegrating terrorists into society, welcoming repentents and offering them valued opportunities; and Diverting attention by naming several terrorist groups potentially responsible for a particular terrorist act. The government thus supplies more information than the terrorist responsible would wish.
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Chapter 7: Diffusing Media Attention

Bruno S. Frey


7. Diffusing Media Attention TERRORISM AND THE MEDIA Extensive Coverage Our discussion has so far focused on anti-terrorism policies over the medium and long term. The proposals to decentralise society and to raise education and income require considerable time to implement and are not quick to bear fruit. To offer positive incentives to terrorists by intensifying social contacts and integration is more of a proposal for the medium term than one to be applied immediately. This chapter proposes an anti-terrorist policy that is relevant once a terrorist attack has taken place. It is especially directed at major and spectacular events, such as the kidnapping of famous persons. Spectacular terrorist incidents are closely linked to media coverage, in particular television. The proposal therefore seeks to reduce terrorist violence by influencing media reporting. But the proposal suggests a rather unconventional procedure for reaching this goal. The relationship between terrorists and the media has received considerable attention in the literature. It can be described as ‘symbiotic’, with the interests of the terrorists being in one respect similar, or even identical, to those of the media. Both want to make news, and both want to keep the incident in the headlines for as long as possible. Some authors have gone so far as to claim that there would be no terrorism without the media. Think about these statements: ● ● If the media were not there to report terrorist acts and to explain their political and social significance (the motives inspiring them...

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