Violent extremists around the world are increasingly using the internet to recruit and inflame followers and enlarge support among militants. But activists for rights and democracy are also expanding their digital toolkit in their struggles for political freedom and social justice. How can digital space for violent movements be reduced – and how can it be used more creatively for nonviolent movements?
On 22 April, Peter Neumann and Tim Stevens of ICSR spoke at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington DC, together with members of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), presenting the ICSR’s approach to the above question. Stevens and Neumann presented the new ICSR report ‘Countering Online Radicalisation—A Strategy for Action’ as a balanced approach to countering the threat of the radical violence spread through the internet. Jack Duvall and Hardy Merriman from the ICNC spoke about the strategic value of nonviolent approaches to solving conflicts, citing studies proving that violent movements had a less successful historical track record in bringing about success when compared to nonviolent movements. They emphasized the important role the Internet had to play in organizing and expanding such campaigns.