Is there a fast and effective way to halt terrorist attacks in their tracks? Just weeks before the Winter Olympics in nearby Sochi, and after two deadly bombings in the city of Volgagrad, Volgograd Oblast’s former vice governor writes in Izvestia that the history of terrorism makes clear that halting all press coverage of such crimes, as long as the public gives its consent, is a reasonable and effective measure that must be taken.
For Izvestia, Oleg Matveyichev, former vice governor of Volgograd Oblast, examines the history of terrorism in Russia and how it works, writing in small part:
As a rule, terrorists pursue several goals. One of them is to strike at people’s values and places they hold sacred. Volgograd is such a sacred place for Russians. Therefore, the motive of the terrorists seems unarguable: to spoil the inconvenient memory of victory and attachment to national shrines.
Another discernible pattern: most acts of terrorism occur on the eve of festivals or events that are socially, politically, or culturally significant. The most horrifying example being Beslan, which took place on September 1, 2004. [September 1 is known as Knowledge Day, and is the first day of school after summer]. September 1 will now forevermore be tied to that tragedy. In May of the same year, an act of terror took place in Grozny on Victory Day (May 9), which killed Akhmat Kadyrov, first president of the Chechen Republic.
We can see that the choice of Volgograd was no accident. Volgograd was the right place in terms of making negative associations with tragic events. … We must understand that this was done deliberately. By and large, terrorists are a product of our modern civilization and media-saturated world, where there is a content rivalry over the headline theme of the day.
The first strategic goal of terrorists is therefore to highlight their cause, and attract the attention of as many people as possible to the problem of Islam.
It seems to me that perhaps the wise course of action would be to pass laws prohibiting coverage of terrorist attacks by the media and blogosphere, and shutting down the Web pages of bloggers who break the rules.
After the terrorist attack at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater, it was forbidden to show the terrorists on live television, but I suggest that the measure is no longer sufficient. In order to prevent terrorists from achieving their main goal – leading the news of the day – the time has come to abandon the principle of informing the public about acts of terrorism.
In addition to targeting peoples’ values and desecrating their national shrines, a key task for terrorists is to get on television and be widely discussed in media. If you think about it, is it their ultimate aim to kill 15 people? Of course not.
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