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Research Paper

Lighting the Path: the Evolution of the Islamic State Media Enterprise (2003-2016)

15 Nov 2016
Long read by Craig Whiteside

The media products of the revolutionary movement known as the Islamic State (also IS, ISIL, ISIS, Daesh) have received a significant amount of attention from analysts and journalists alike. While extremely helpful, most of this effort is focused at performing content analysis of fairly recent products. As part of the Counter-Terrorism Strategic Communication (CTSC) project’s effort to better understand propaganda messaging in the 21st century, the author of this Research Paper examined primary documents and other media published by the Islamic State movement during its entire existence in order to develop a history of the media department since 2003. The framework for analysis focused on the interaction between key media leaders, the ever-expanding structure and institutions, and the process of innovation used to experiment with different media techniques in different phases of the group’s evolution. Based on this history, the paper presents six observations about the media department and its role in the larger movement – in the hopes that this knowledge will be helpful in efforts to combat this particular group and its inevitable imitators in the future.

Read the Research Paper.

How to cite: Whiteside, C. “Lighting the Path: the Evolution of the Islamic State Media Enterprise (2003-2016)”, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague 7, no. 11 (2016).