2015-12-04 11:44

Terrorists can decide somewhere in the forest what kind of news we must consume by just sending a hostage video to media houses or bombing a live soccer match on our television. In a way they dictate the editorial independence.

The media is not forced to publish terrorism news. It's just pure sensationalism. Images of kidnaped people beheaded live on television were broadcasted as headline news. The world still remembers the image of Pierre Korki which was televised on local and international news.

The media has a choice of not publishing anything about terrorism. So why do they? Is it the lack of relevant news or are they purely after sensationalism? We are heading into a situation where terrorist organisations are going to have visible headquarters, an official spokesperson, who will hold press conferences and issue press releases. Something must be done. Media in South Africa must review their policies on media ethics and terrorism. Movies and television programming which promotes terrorism must be censored to protect viewers.

The world will be a peaceful and a better place without terrorism. The media must stop feeding us terrorism propaganda. No matter how valid the reasons of terror are. It has no place in our society.

Terrorist organisations who are advocating for an Islamic state must know that they will only achieve their state through democratic processes. If they desire for such an idealistic state which only happens in their minds, they must register as a political organisation, publicise their manifesto and lastly run for elections. That is the only way.

Society cannot be living in fear of terror. President Putin suggested that some states and G20 countries are financing terrorism and the media downplayed that. The media should have investigated more and expose people who are sponsoring terrorism. In fact, names of people and organisations financing terrorism are known by intelligence agencies, unless they are not doing their job.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder of the of the Gift of the Givers Foundation is the only person who negotiates with all terrorist organisations in the entire world and seemingly they listen to him. In 2014 he negotiated the release of Pierre Korki after he was held hostage for four years, unfortunately he was killed before his release, when the Americans botched a rescue operation of trying to free their native who was held with him. On the 1st of December 2015 Sooliman further made a public statement on a national television announcing the release of Stephen McGowan who has been held hostage in Mali by Al Qaeda.

"Our analysis is the following: 'someone' agreed to take up our 'case', the captors have accepted Gift of the Givers as negotiators on behalf of both hostages, a special video has been prepared for us and they are ready for 'dialogue'," Sooliman said. Is it a coincidence that all terrorist organisations are only willing to negotiate with him?

He further said "We now need to get possession of the video and view the contents, then wait for 'demands' or instructions on the way forward or any other relevant messages. Depending on the content of the video and us successfully acquiring it, we may consider releasing it publicly." Dr Sooliman is giving terrorists undeserving attention. After releasing Mcgowan, another terror group is also going to kidnap another South African citizen knowing very well that their agent Dr Sooliman will negotiate and raise millions for the ransom.

Boko Haram abducted more than two hundred girls in Nigeria and converted them to Islam.The Nigerian government took days to respond or to issue a statement. The spirit of laxity did not make sense when innocent girls were tortured and enduring all kinds of atrocities somewhere in a forest. Little did the African Union, together with the United Nations, do to save those girls. Is the world losing the battle against terrorism ?

In January 2015 a video was played on local and international news whereby Christian hostages were beheaded by the Islamic State. Also, in the same week a Paris terrorist hunt by French police was broadcasted live on our television where a number of terrorist were short and killed. This was the biggest mistake on the side of the media. This is becoming a norm and terrorist they only want publicity. The war against terror will not be won if the media is assisting terrorist to spread their propaganda. Terrorists have more airtime an appeal on mainstream media than developmental news.

Journalists must be reminded that media freedom is subjected to responsibility. South Africa must take a strong stance against terrorism, even if it means to amend anti-terrorism legislations. The Department of International Relations must exhaust all diplomatic processes to free South Africans who are still held as hostages in foreign lands.

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