In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Lauren Williams examines Islamic State’s use of the Western media to disseminate its propaganda. Williams argues mainstream media outlets have a responsibility to treat Islamic State-produced material more critically, expose the weaknesses of its messages, and place greater effort into counter-messaging.
Islamic State’s media arm has a clearly defined strategy to manipulate the mainstream media to serve its propaganda objectives.
A more critical view of Islamic State’s claims and propaganda is needed to limit the effectiveness of the group’s messages.
The role of the media, as well as the stories of returnees and defectors, as a platform for counter-messaging has been underutilised.