Since 9/11 the Australian Government and the media have perpetuated fear of terrorist attack in our daily lives, enabling an acceptance that our Government can promulgate our fundamental human rights.
The repercussions of the media focussing on every major event as a terrorist attack, inadvertently allow Terrorists to instil more fear in our lives and furthering their fundamental cause. This focus, and increasing an individuals perceived risk of attack, directly result in people allowing Governments to have greater power to impugn our most basic human rights in the guise of protecting us, their citizens.
Under the Counter-Terrorism laws, police and security agencies have greater detention and questioning powers. Intrinsically, many of these laws disregard the ‘rule of law’ that underpin our society.
The media’s stereotype of Muslins and Arabs and the simplistic connection between ethnicity and crime only acerbates our propensity to treat these individuals with prejudice and suspicion. Consequently, this cycle of propaganda has seen a direct correlation to increased racism and violence in Australia, and the assumption of guilt until proven innocent.
I do not suggest all Anti-terrorist laws are problematic, or that we should not have stringent security methods to combat what is a major problem, however I question whether we need restraint and balance, not hysteria.
I do not suggest that the media is in collusion with the government, however, the media does bear some responsibility in our perception of risk and victimisation, and consequently of our acceptance that we need these laws and limitations.
The media, as a social institution, create narratives of cultural and political consciousness that become imbedded in our collective morals as a society. In consequence, the media play a crucial role in our understanding of Terrorism and who is a terrorist and collectively a threat to our society.