Will limits on free expression prevent terrorism?

20th September 2017

 Will limits on free expression prevent terrorism?

A free media is a key component of democracy given its role in sharing information, yet it is often criticised for its coverage of terrorism, which some regard as facilitating the spread of extremist ideologies.

Similarly, as extremists have taken to social media, debates around trade-offs between freedom of expression and security have resurfaced. This report examines the relationships between the traditional media, social media and violent extremism to argue that responses limiting freedom of expression are ineffective in combatting violent extremism.

About the author

Albertus Schoeman is a consultant in the Transnational Threats and International Crime Programme of the ISS.

About the project

This report is part of a series of papers on democracy, security, and violent extremism prepared for the Community of Democracies’ Democracy and Security Dialogue. The project seeks to foster greater collaboration among democratic governments, donors, civil society and academics to improve security outcomes and create a more conducive environment for the strengthening of democracy around the world. For more on the project and related materials, including the final report, visit www.brookings.edu/democracy-security-dialogue