The War of Words with Terrorism: An Assessment of Three Approaches to Pursue and Prevent

(2017) Journal of Conflict and Security Law

Posted: 26 Oct 2017

See all articles by Clive Walker

Clive Walker

University of Leeds - Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (CCJS)

Date Written: October 26, 2017

Abstract

Terrorism speech content presents multiple dangers for liberal democracies, the mechanics of attacks, the fostering of motivation to become involved in terrorist incitements and the censoring process which can threaten cherished values or drain state resources. This article will explore these dangers in the contexts of three identified responses in the war of words with terrorism. First, attempts are made to impose criminal laws. However, the limited number of prosecutions suggests ineffectiveness, arising from practical problems of evidence-gathering and transnationality. Prosecutions also encounter principled (human rights) objections. The second, more prevalent and sustainable, approach involves administrative controls, as reflected in police Internet referral units and by private sector denunciation mechanisms. These interventions can handle a high volume of traffic. But within corporatist arrangements, we must question whose interests are being served and the fairness of the process. In an ideal speech situation, the fostering of convincing messages against terrorism would be a preferable approach. Paradoxically, a full debate about values may arise in this third approach through the advent of countering violent extremism (CVE) programmes. These programmes are viewed simplistically by some as repressive. However, CVE programmes could become a platform for the public debate of issues around violent extremism rather than its crude censure.

Keywords: Terrorism, Extremism, Free speech, Internet regulation, Prevent

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K33, K19, K30, K33, K42, N40

Suggested Citation

Walker, Clive, The War of Words with Terrorism: An Assessment of Three Approaches to Pursue and Prevent (October 26, 2017). (2017) Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3059859

Clive Walker (Contact Author)

University of Leeds - Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (CCJS) ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom
44 (0) 113 3435022 (Phone)
44 (0) 113 3435056 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.leeds.ac.uk/people/staff/walker/

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