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Positive narratives to stop terror – appealing to ‘shared values’

Council of Europe member States should go beyond security measures and work with Muslim communities and other priority audiences to produce “tailored, flexible and positive” alternative narratives to terrorist propaganda and violent extremism, PACE’s Legal Affairs Committee has said.

These could help to “dissipate illusions” about the real situation in the territories held by Daesh and the fate of its recruits, the committee suggested, approving a draft report by Liam Byrne (United Kingdom, SOC) today in Paris. Such messages could also “undermine and detract from the authority of terrorist leaders and expose the hypocrisy of the violent extremist narrative”.

This material – using credible messengers and a variety of media – could appeal to young people’s innate sense of justice to directly challenge hate speech and violent propaganda, and promote the idea that certain common “shared values” inspire both Islam and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The committee also invited government experts to draft guidelines for member states on devising messages and narratives to counter terror and radicalisation. The Assembly or its Standing Committee will debate the report later in the year.