From Minutes to Months

Funder: Federal Government’s Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence (Canada Centre) on behalf of the Five Country R&D Network (5RD), in support of the Five Country Ministerial Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.

Academics at the Crime and Security Research Institute (CSRI) lead an international team of analysts from the University of New South Wales, Michigan State University and the Canadian Society of Evidence Based Policing to learn the lessons from researching recent terror attacks in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

By reviewing all the published research on the role of media and social media in the wake of terror attacks, together with detailed case studies of specific incidents, the study has produced new evidence and insights about how media and social media coverage can increase the public harms of terrorism, and what works in mitigating such effects.

The research team found such attacks continue to have an adverse impact long after the initial incident, as a wide range of voices compete through mainstream and social media.  

Minutes to Months (M2M) Map of Reactions to Terror Events [Click Image to Enlarge]

Led by Professor Martin Innes Director of the CSRI, the team of academics have developed a Minutes to Months (M2M) framework, to help authorities formulate robust strategies for managing the resulting online reactions after a major incident. The work was commissioned by the Five Country Ministerial (FCM) Countering Extremism Working Group – which includes the governments of the UK, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Communications after a terrorist incident often lead to a spike in hate crimes, incite and fuel extremism and prompt damaging disinformation and rumours. Governments, police and others involved in public safety need to be ready to offer accurate, regular information to minimise negative fallout, researchers say.

The increasing volume of communication enables different groups to develop alternative interpretations and framings of the same event. As a consequence, there are typically multiple narratives and accounts circulating in the post-event environment.

Terrorist violence is purposively designed to ‘terrorise, polarise and mobilise’ different public audiences, therefore understanding and managing the dynamics of public reaction to these provocations is vital.

The report finds that the relative neglect of how to manage post-event situations is a current weak point in many governmental counter-terrorism frameworks.

Download the full report below.