Jad Melki Explains the Logic Behind the Communication Strategies of Modern Terrorism

February 28, 2018
by Xander Causwell


On February 23, 2018, the Center for Social Justice hosted Jad Melki, Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at the Lebanese American University, who spoke to Georgetown students and faculty about how ISIS crafted their communication strategy to advance their cause.

Jad Melki is an award-winning journalist, who has worked with both U.S. and Arab media for over 15 years. During the talk, he shared his first-hand experiences and analysis of ISIS’s propaganda campaign and its effects.                                

According to Melki, ISIS’s seemingly successful media outreach strategy was partly due to their efficient manipulation of digital media, in coordination with terror attacks, to invoke and exploit long-standing grievances in the Arab world. The continuation of those grievances, Melki suggests, will mean that future terrorist organizations in the region will rise through utilizing the ISIS media model:

Using a real grievance in order to advance your own goal…this is actually the definition of populism… and they [ISIS] present themselves as an alternative solution.

“ISIS built on the models of groups that came before it, and I am very confident that the groups that come after it will build on this model.”