Europe in the World

How to counter jihadist propaganda effectively and promote alternative narratives?

17 May 2017


The European Policy Centre (EPC) held a Policy Dialogue in partnership with the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD), the first in a new project on policy priorities in Europe’s responses to jihadist radicalisation. Terrorist organisations have developed sophisticated communication strategies, both offline and online, in reaching out to target audiences, including adversaries, civilians living under their control, and potential sympathisers in the West and elsewhere. The Islamic State is now the first terrorist organisation with the ability to globalise the terror experience, and that has opened a door for anyone to be part of an ‘electronic’ or ‘digital’ jihad. ISIS use online media tools to disseminate its multi-dimensional propaganda, populating social media platforms, and attracting a global network of supporters that articulate, magnify, and circulate its violent extremist messages, which could prove to be more powerful and far-reaching than any bomb. That is why winning the war of narratives is equally, if not more important than defeating them in a conventional war on the ground. This dialogue sought to discuss how the EU and its allies can better counter jihadist propaganda and promote alternative narratives. Panellists drew from good practices across Europe and came up with proposals to improve member states’ approaches in the future.

Speakers included: Alexandra Antoniadis, Head of Sector, Fight against Terrorism and Prevention of Radicalisation, DG Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission, Stéphane Lacombe, Deputy Director, Association Française des Victimes du Terrorisme, Alexander Ritzmann, Executive Director, And European Foundation for Democracy, Co-Chairman, Communication, and Narratives Working Group, Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN)