Terrorist organisations in Pakistan like the Taliban are increasingly using social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook to spread their propaganda and as a means of intimidation. A number of Twitter accounts allegedly managed by members of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have emerged, on which they post messages and engage in dialogue with their followers. Facebook pages are used to upload statements and videos.
“The TTP is dominating the media. I feel they are savvier at spreading their message in a subtle way. Tackling them is not just about dialogue or military operations. We need comprehensive and broad policy to neutralise them,” Lt Gen (retired) Talat Masood, a leading security analyst, told PTI.
Some media houses in Pakistan have introduced “self-censorship” when it comes to articles against the TTP, which is a dangerous trend, he said. In the recent past, the TTP attacked the Karachi-based Express media group here thrice, creating fear in journalistic circles. Analysts said social media had been used in the past, but it now plays a bigger role.
Last year, the TTP posted a message on Facebook seeking writers for their magazine, but the page was eventually shut down by the social media network. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), declared a front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba by the UN Security Council after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, has a dedicated media-wing that posts updates on its activities on social media networks.
“Sophisticated terrorist organisations like the TTP and Al-Qaeda realise that, in addition to violence, propaganda is needed for the successful orchestration of their activities,” a recent article by writer Fawad Rehman said.