Journalists need to resist the urge to sensationalize events in their interest to attract the eyes, ears and clicks” – as stated in the UNESCO Guidelines on reporting on terrorism and violent extremism. This statement once again underlines the importance of overcoming many challenges that stand in the way of reporting on these topics.
Guided by these issues, the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina organized the conference “Media and Terrorism” in September 2018, and once again drew attention to the importance of accuracy of information based on facts, independence, impartiality, humanity, transparency and responsibilities, when it comes to media-monitoring of violent extremism and terrorism. As stated in the conclusions from the conference, precision and the use of clear terminology is essential for explaining the seriousness and tragic nature of the situation without misleading readers and viewers and sensationalist approach to events.
Carefulness while informing the public on any subject, and especially about such sensitive issues, is of exceptional importance. Otherwise, the media even unintentionally can help the perpetrators to achieve their goal primarily in the spread of fear and divisions.
The damage from sensationalism is great, so it is necessary to insist on responsible journalism. There is no use of sensation, especially in the long term. Sensationalism should always be countered by social responsibility.
Media and journalists are an indispensable cohesion factor between different sections of society and play an extremely important role in the prevention of violent extremism and terrorism.
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