‘Responding to extremisms: media roles and responsibilities’

‘Responding to extremisms: media roles and responsibilities’, Bournemouth University, 15 July 2011

The oxygen of publicity or the right to a platform? How are different forms of extremism covered in our national media, and does this serve to marginalise or legitimise extremist groups? What are the media strategies of these groups, and what potential do social media have to change their prospects? What are or should be the relations between media professionals and police and security services, community organisations and other stakeholders? How will the media influence the success or otherwise of the soon to be revised PREVENT strategy?

On Friday 15th July, Bournemouth University hosted a one-day conference at Bournemouth University’s Executive Business Centre. The conference focused on extremism and in particular the media roles and responses to extremism. It was organised by Bournemouth University’s Media School and was run by CERB, the Containing Extremism Research Briefing (http://www.cerb.ws).

CERB is a growing database of summaries of research articles related to various forms of contemporary extremism, with focus on its psychosocial dimensions and the role of the media. The CERB conference brought together various academics, journalists and speakers involved in responding to political or violent extremism, discussing such topics as:

–  How should media report the EDL?

– Freedom of Information vs National Security: Why Wikileaks adds a new dimension to an old dilemma

– What do the public think? Attitudes to extremism, violence and freedom of speech

– Counter-terrorism and the media

– Responding to the BNP: the media and the Far Right in contemporary Britain

The conference was be covered live all day, so those who were unable to make it in person could follow the debate live. Check out CERB_WS on Twitter for the tweets or go to the CERB archive for the tweets in chronological order.

For full coverage of the conference, including blogs, videos and podcasts, go to cerb.ws/conference/blog.

The photos, tweets, blogs, videos and podcasts were put together by a team of students from Bournemouth University’s Media School (including myself)

The conference is linked to the development of a web-based resource for people working in this area, the Containing Extremism Research Briefing.

David Cameron joins the EDL?

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 29JAN10 - David Cameron, Le...

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David Cameron has told a security conference in Munich, Germany that multiculturalism in Britain has failed and that the government has been “too cautious frankly, even fearful” with dealing with the ‘non-white’ community.

Many have queried the timing of the speech as much as the content – given on the same day that an English Defence League (EDL) rally is taking place in the UK. The speech itself has also served to show how out of touch Cameron and the Tory party really are with modern, multicultural Britain.

Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we’ve encouraged different cultures to live seperate lives apart from each other and apart from the mainstream. We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong,” the prime minister said.

Cameron blamed integration issues between ‘whites’ and ‘non-whites’ as a factor for the ‘rise in extremism’, it appeared.

We’ve even tolerated these segregated comunities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectional views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practises come from someone that isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious frankly, even fearful, to stand up to them.

This hands off tolerance only serves to reinforce the sense that not enough is shared, and this all leaves some young muslims feeling rootless, and the search for something to belong to and something to believe in can lead them to this extremist ideology.

Now for sure they don’t turn into terrorists overnight, but what we see, and what we see in so many European countries, is a process of radicalisation.”

The speech angered some Muslim groups and clearly will only serve to alienate the Mulsim community further. Meanwhile ‘nationalist’ groups such as the EDL and the BNP will see the anti-multiculturalism, pro-nationalism speech as further support to their causes. Especially given the apt timing of the speech which runs in conjunction with the EDL rally held on the same day in the UK.

Inayat Bunglawala from Muslims4Uk has condemned Cameron’s speech, saying: “Well Mr. Cameron is evidently keen on taking a very patronising attitude towards UK muslims.

He’s saying that Muslims must sign up to a whole list of values, and he says that because they haven’t been signing up… that is a primary reason [why] we’re seeing terrorism on our streets, now I think that is a quite deeply flawed analysis. Continue reading