06 Mar 2009
Release of ASPI Special Report Countering internet radicalisation in Southeast Asia
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) today released an assessment of online radicalisation in our region. This report is the result of a joint research project conducted over several months by ASPI and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
Since its inception, the internet has been used by terrorist groups around the world to disseminate propaganda and tradecraft materials. But as the internet has evolved in recent years, it is being used more and more as a tool for the radicalisation of young people towards violence and hatred. Extremists now use interactive web forums and chat rooms to entice new recruits. And convicted terrorists in Australia have given evidence about the influence of the internet on vulnerable communities.
Although there is a growing body of research on the terrorist use of the internet in Europe and North America, less attention has been given to the problem of online radicalisation in Southeast Asia and neighbouring countries such as Australia.
This Special Report finds that the internet is an increasingly important part of the radicalisation process. Extremist websites are proliferating in our region. And its not just passive websites that are important: social networking sites such as blogs and forums are evolving rapidly.
The report recommends several policy approaches to counter the use of the internet for radicalisation including blocking websites, creating counter-narratives to promote tolerance and intelligence-led methods to tackle the problem.