A mindless media and a radical terrorist make a cocktail for disaster. A tweet from a handle called the ISIS_Med has become exclusive news for channels. [Banning terror outfits has solved 80 per cent of the problem]
The tweet which states a hostage situation in Bengaluru will be launched tomorrow in support of Mehdi Masroor Biswas alias @shammiwitness has hit the headlines without everyone especially the regional channels attempting to scare the living daylights of the people. [@shamiwitness: Bengaluru cops search for Mysuru links]
Now first things first. This particular handle that is being quoted is a parody account which mentions in its profile, "PARODY. Islamic State of Murder, Rape, Invasion, Beheading of innocent journalists, humanitarian volunteers and Occasional Charity ****Daeshland über Alles****" [Is @shamiwitness back?]
Intelligence Bureau officials say that there has been a general rise in the alert level in Bengaluru and adjoining areas in the event of this arrest. There are people who are in no way connected with him who may try and disrupt peace quoting @shammiwitness. However there is a bigger likelihood that his real supporters will wage an online war in his support.
A mindless media:
Speak to any expert in any part of the world and he would have to say that terrorist groups thrive on propaganda. In fact 40 per cent of their war is fought on propaganda and they have a way of hyping events. For example if three people are killed they will say it is 30. They have gone up to the extent of creating sets on which they shoot videos of people being beheaded in a bid to create an impact.
In such a scenario any publicity is good publicity for them and if the media picks up every nonsense that they have to say then they will tend to do it more. One must remember that these twitter handles have around 5000 to 10000 followers and when their tweet gets a mention on television it reaches out lakhs of people which means their purpose is served.
What the police say:
Reacting to such bizarre news item being published and also the tweets, Additional Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Alok Kumar said, " please don't give imp to rumours. Such tweets are misleading and the Bangalore police is committed to ensuring the safety and security of its citizens."
The other trend of the media is to give captured terrorists fancy designations. Chief of South or South Indian Commandant, leader of a sleep cell, module boss etc. One must remember that for those operating online there are no designations. Baghdadi does not issue an employment letters to his terrorists with a designation.
When a terrorist is recruited, he is not given any designation. He is given a role. It is the intelligence and the police for the sake of identification and to define his role which hand out a designation. In every scenario there is just a foot soldier (fidayeen or mujahideen) and an aaka (the leader) In the case of the ISIS there is a Caliph who we all know is self styled.
Most of the media these days are seen doing internet journalism. With no concrete sources and very little knowledge of the subject, they tend to put out information without bothering to check. It was for all of us to see what happened on 26/11 and how mindless reporting without bothering to check the the pros and cons led to several hostages being killed inside the Taj Mahal hotel.