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RFE/RL Report Says Al-Qaeda Media Network Threatened by New Era of User-Generated Content

"The Al-Qaeda Media Nexus"

"The Al-Qaeda Media Nexus"

(Washington, DC) A landmark RFE/RL study on the nexus of ties and coordination between the global network of al-Qaeda affiliates argues that the marketing techniques that catapulted Al-Qaeda to worldwide fame are rapidly becoming obsolete as user-created content sweeps the Web.

"If Web 1.0 was about creating the snazziest official web resource and Web 2.0 is about letting users run wild with self-created content and interactivity, Al-Qaeda and its affiliates are stuck in Web 1.0," says the report's author, RFE/RL Senior Analyst Daniel Kimmage. "Because Al-Qaeda and its affiliates fear the intrusion of free-thinking, content generating individuals, they maintain strict message control. In this way, they resemble the stodgy structures of traditional mainstream media."

In what is perhaps the only open-source evidence of its kind, The Al-Qaeda Media Nexus reveals the hidden structures that disseminate al-Qaeda's claims and ideas. It provides readers with a conceptual vocabulary to describe this guerilla media network in order to clarify our discussion of how best to counteract its influence.

"Daniel Kimmage's path-breaking study on the al-Qaeda media nexus makes a signal contribution to our understanding of contemporary terrorism," says Professor Bruce Hoffman of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and author of Inside Terrorism. "Terrorism, as we have long known, is a form of violent communication. Yet Kimmage's original research and trenchant analysis shed new light on this process and highlights our adversaries' growing sophisitication on the critically important virtual battlefield."

Click here to download the full report as a .pdf or click here to read more about The Al-Qaeda Media Nexus.