COUNTERING ONLINE RADICALIZATION
By Rev. Fr. Wilybard Lagho
The Internet has become an important resource for disseminating terrorist propaganda and instructions to young persons ’ that might not otherwise have direct contact with group recruiters or supporters. The Internet is accessible, cheap, and anonymous. It offers terrorists a variety of mediums to disseminate messages and provides connections to recruiters and recruits that might not otherwise be possible.
Some groups have established websites designed specifically for youth audiences, disseminating propaganda through colorful cartoons and games. It was from this background that CICC organized a consultative leader’ s forum in Malindi drawn from key institutions to look into ways of addressing online radicalization and recruitment of the youths to violent extremists groups.
The goal of the meeting was to deliberate ways of countering the messaging of extremist groups, typically via online hate forums, social media networks, or independent websites. The forum which was largely successful resolved the following:
That the clerics will come up with communication campaign and outreach actions targeting the youth communities – to generate counter-discourse and to share powerful stories of young victims of radicalization; There is need to create and disseminate new counter-narratives that would undermine the appeal of extremist messages; There is need to harness the power of social networks to mobilize young people to raise their voice and to take action for the safeguarding of heritage under threat, providing a counternarrative to sectarian propaganda