The worldwide public shows immanence interest for the terrorism after September 11, 2001.Terrorism may be the most influential buzzword of the decade”, suggested political sociologist Ziad Munson in his article Keywords Terrorism published in Sage on line journal. Having in mind this, what is my definition on terrorism?

Encyclopedia Britannica defines terrorism as systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular objective.  Even though, there is no universal definition of the terrorism, the United States Department of Defense defines terrorism as “unlawful violence to inculcate fear and to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are political, religious, or ideological”. Then, the FBI uses the following definition to explain terrorism. “Terrorism is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”  The U.S. Department of State definition of terrorism is that it is “premeditated politically-motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience”.

United Nations definition of terrorism from 1992 articulates “an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby – in contrast to assassination – the direct targets of violence are not the main targets.”

Considering the fact, that there is no universal definition of terrorism, my opinion on it will be that it is use of violence to achieve political, religion or other goals. Having no universal definition on terrorism can influence how the media cover and frame not only the terrorism, but also the terrorist attack.

Munson underlines that “research after the wave of terrorism in the mid-1980s showed the important role the media play in dramatizing terrorism and making it an effective means of communication”. He recommends that understanding the basic mechanism responsible for its social constructions can help us put the threat in proper perspective. I can agree with Munson that proper perspective can give more information on what can be labeled or not as terrorism act. Furthermore, the fear of terrorism should not justify how the governments create and frame the terrorism and present that picture in the media.

Work cited:

1. Munson, Z. (2008, September). Keywords Terrorism. In Sage journal on line. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from http://ctx.sagepub.com/content/7/4/78

2.  What is terrorism? (n.d.).  In Terrorism Research. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from http://www.terrorism-research.com/