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Australian govn't agencies discuss role of language in countering terrorism


18:16, July 15, 2013

CANBERRA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare on Monday met with senior media representatives and community leaders to discuss the role of language in countering terrorism and violent extremism, a joint media release by the two ministers said.

The round-table discussion brought together representatives from major media organizations and from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Sydney to explore how they and government can work together to challenge extremist narratives used to recruit vulnerable youth.

It follows research by the Lexicon of Terrorism Project, a collaboration between the Commonwealth Government and Victorian Government, which canvassed communities in all states and territories over 12 months.

"Language is a powerful tool, and its use when describing terrorism and related activities should be carefully considered," Dreyfus said.

Dreyfus said counter-extremist narratives were very important. "We want to encourage public discussion that counters negative and divisive ideas."

He pointed out that there are increasing numbers of websites and social media activity promoting extremist messages but few providing an alternative counter-narrative.

"Today's discussion is about exploring how the government, media and communities can work together to challenge these narratives. It is also about providing the media with key contacts within communities, to encourage greater conversation."

The Attorney-General's Department's countering violent extremism program aims to reduce the risk of home-grown terrorism by taking a preventative approach, with the emphasis on intervening early before a law enforcement response is required.

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