New Terrorism and New Media : Mass-Mediated Terrorism

Without communication terrorism would not exist.Marshall Macluhan (in an interview for the Italian newspaper Il Tempo, February 19, 1978).Origins of the WordFrom its early days terror has combined psychological and theatrical aspects: the word “terror” comes from the Latin word “terrere” which means “to frighten” or “to scare”. During the “popular” phase of the French Revolution in September 1793, the “Reign of Terror” was officially declared and activated, 16,000 people were guillotined, but executions of those labeled "internal enemies" of France took place throughout the country (about 20,000 to 40,000 people were killed). Executions were conducted before large audiences and were accompanied by sensational publicity thus spreading the intended fear. But contemporary terrorists became exposed to new opportunities for exerting mass psychological impacts as a result of technological advances in communications. During the 1970s, academic observers remarked…

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About the Contributor

Gabriel Weimann

Gabriel Weimann is a Full Professor of Communication at the Department of Communication at Haifa University, Israel. His research interests include the study of media effects, political campaigns,...