Support of world's media crucial to fight terrorism

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Jeffrey Feltman. UN Photo/Loey Felipe (file)

The international community needs the support of the world's media to help prevent violent extremism.

That was the message shared by the UN's top political affairs official, Jeffrey Feltman, who was speaking on Wednesday at an Arab Media Forum at UN Headquarters.

The event focused on the role of media in combating terrorism.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

There are reportedly almost 50,000 Twitter accounts supporting the terrorist group ISIL, with an average of 1,000 followers each.

The head of the UN's political affairs department said it is undeniable that extremists groups effectively use social media to spread propaganda and recruit.

Jeffrey Feltman explained that they succeed by providing a space where young people can bond over their grievances and a deeply held desire for a world that is just and fair.

Governments are trying to keep up through disseminating more moderate counter-narratives, he added, but it's not enough.

 "We can only prevent violent extremism if we engage the support of our entire society – we are calling this an "all of society" approach. Our efforts need to go beyond government, and extend to religious, youth, women and other community leaders – they are the ones on the front-line, standing up to violent extremists."

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General has announced his intention to present a Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism to the 70th General Assembly later this year.

It will include a global communications strategy involving social media stakeholders, governments and civil society.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’19″

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