Examining the role of the media and social media in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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Researchers from the Universities' Police Science Institute [UPSI] and the Crime and Security Research Institute (CSRI) have been commissioned to lead an international research consortium, on behalf of the Five Country Ministerial Countering Violent Extremism Working Group, to examine the evidence base around the role of the media and social media during and after terrorist attacks.

The Working Group was founded by the Governments of the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand after the Second World War to discuss the national security threats faced by each of the five nations, along with potential areas of collaboration. The aim of the group is to address challenges such as countering violent extremism, cyber-attacks and international instability, among other issues.

Building upon the institute’s pioneering studies into the social reactions to terrorism, the research will focus on media related issues that arise during and in the aftermath of terrorist and domestic extremism incidents. It will investigate the ways that communications technologies shape the public understandings of, and reactions to, key incidents and examine the effects of misinformation and disinformation.

Professor Martin Innes said: “Over the past five years, the Crime and Security Research Institute at Cardiff University has developed an innovative research programme exploring how advances in social media analytics can generate new insights and evidence about the organization of public reactions to terrorism. This project affords us a unique opportunity to translate what we have learnt to date into international policy impact, to enable improved management of the post-event harms of terror attacks.”

Findings from the research will provide new insights into how communications strategies can be better managed, making informed recommendations for future policy and practice development.