United Nations Task Force Meeting in Riyadh to Look at Countering Appeal of Terrorism on the Internet

20 January 2011
Note No. 6290

United Nations Task Force Meeting in Riyadh to Look at Countering Appeal of Terrorism on the Internet

20 January 2011
Press Release
Note No. 6290
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

United Nations Task Force Meeting in Riyadh to Look

at Countering Appeal of Terrorism on the Internet

Using the World Wide Web to craft and deliver effective counter-narratives to fight the appeal of extremist violence will be the focus of a three-day workshop organized by United Nations counter-terrorism experts in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 24 to 26 January.

Hosted by the Naif Arab University for Security Studies, the conference is the third in a series of workshops undertaken by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) through its Working Group on Countering the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes.  Previous meetings were held last year in Berlin, Germany, and in Seattle, United States, and explored the legal and the technical aspects of the issue.

The workshops bring together senior officials and experts from Governments, international and regional organizations, think tanks, academia and the private sector to look at the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes and possible ways to counter it.  The ultimate purpose of the project is to assist Member States by giving them a snapshot of the current nature of the challenge and offer possible policy guidelines and projects, as well as compiling and analyzing the outcomes of the workshops into one comprehensive practical guide that looks at the legal, technical and counter-narrative aspects of the challenge.

Building on the outcomes of the previous workshops, the Riyadh conference is expected to launch a global effort aimed at understanding and leveraging the power of the Internet to expose the distortions of the narratives used by terrorists and explain the real consequences of their actions.  Moreover, the meeting will provide a platform for developing specific projects focused on countering the appeal of terrorism, including tailoring counter-narratives for particular regions and audiences.

“We have now a much better understanding of how violent extremists use the Internet to prepare, commit and promote their acts” notes Richard Barrett, the Chair of the Working Group, adding, “we must now go beyond this and look at credible and effective ways to use this medium to curtail and counter their appeal.  In Riyadh, we will be discussing how to design counter-narratives that succeed in challenging the legitimacy, relevance and credibility of extremist groups and reach the audience that is susceptible to their message.  We must be able to offer different solutions to the political, social and ideological issues that attract people to extremism and violence”.

The Working Group on Countering the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes is one of the seven working groups and initiatives of the CTITF.  The Task Force itself was set up by the Secretary-General in 2005 and brings together nearly 30 United Nations system entities and Interpol.  The Task Force assists Member States with the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted by the General Assembly in September 2006.

One of the areas about which Member States have shown concern from the beginning has been the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes and, in fact, in the strategy, they pledged to work with the United Nations to “explore ways and means to coordinate efforts at the international and regional level to counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations on the Internet, and use the Internet as a tool for countering the spread of terrorism, while recognizing that States may require assistance in this regard”.

Regarding media arrangements, media representatives are welcome to attend the conference’s opening session on 24 January.  For details please contact Daanish Masood, tel.:  +1 212 457 1852; e-mail:  masoodd@un.org.

United Nations TV will compile a video news package of the conference.  For details please visit:  http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed, or contact Francis Mead, tel.: +1 917 367 3754; e-mail:  meadf@un.org.

For more information on the work of CTITF and its working groups, please visit http://www.un.org/terrorism/cttaskforce.shtml, or contact:  Jan Neutze, tel.: +1 917 367 5758; e-mail:  neutze@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.