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The New Arab

Ignore IS propaganda, researchers warn

The militant group has recruited thousands by sharing slick propaganda videos online [Twitter]

Date of publication: 24 February, 2016

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Media organisations must ignore the Islamic State group's tactics to manipulate western sentiments, say experts.
Media outlets should not satisfy the Islamic State group with airtime, a research institute has said.

International news organisations are being manipulated by the militant group, which has a thorough understanding of the industry and is using this knowledge to shape the way in which it is covered in the western press, said the Lowy Institute, an Australian think-tank.

The research suggests IS is "aware of the news cycle and what is newsworthy, and will tailor their material to the principles of newsworthiness".

This may come as no surprise to those who have seen any of the detail-oriented videos they have released online.

International press should therefore, clearly label all IS content as propaganda in order to combat its "slick" productions, said the report's authors.

"Islamic State has been able to exert significant control over the way in which they are depicted and the way in which they are perceived," Lauren Williams, author of the research told the Daily Star newspaper.

But the author argued the press had recently recognised the Islamic State group's "slick footage" and have "taken some steps to mitigate that".

The report identified persecution, brutality and utopianism as three key motifs in all IS propaganda content.  

"Utopianism is starting to replace the brutality content," she said. "Pictures of Islamic State as a functioning society, where things are running in order, where there's effective government, effective policing, a happy place away from the images of war."

IS has published numerous propaganda videos in an attempt to increase recruitment from the western world.

A video published in April 2015 shows an Australian doctor donning a full medical kit as he encourages others to "not delay" in joining IS.

Another production released in the same year showed three young British boys surrounded with rifles and the group's black flag while discussing the importance of "joining the jihad".

Thousands of westerners, including families and children, are thought to have made the journey to IS-controlled territories since the group gained widespread notoriety in 2014.

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