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    MASS MEDIA ROLE IN ANTITERRORIST STRUGGLE

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 5. (RIA Novosti) -- "Information is a weapon, which must never get into the hands of terrorists", Victor Guschin, director of the Club of Chief Editors of Russia's Regional Newspapers, told the RIA Novosti press conference. Guschin is in the organising committee of the 1st International Antiterrorist Media Forum The Media and Build-up of the Antiterrorist Information Policy, due in Moscow on April 26 through 27. Its organisers hope the forum to help in delineating the role of the mass media in opposing the threat of terrorism.

    Victor Guschin said: terrorists are waging a psychological warfare and journalists are willy-nilly helping them. How is the journalist to perform his professional duty - publishing of facts - and prevent terrorists from reaching what they hope for? How to draw a line between the permissible and impermissible?

    This problem cannot be resolved, noted the organisers of the meeting, within the framework of one country: the foreign media freely operate on the Russian information field and the Russian media abroad. It is a global problem and a common approach it to be worked out.

    Toktasyn Buzubaev, deputy general secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, told the forum that, since the early 1990s, 2,500 acts of terrorism have taken place in the world, taking about 7,000 lives and wounding about 25,000 people.

    Citizens of a country permanently leave it, going on vacation tours, business or study trips, and do not know where the danger expects them. The goal of terrorists is to make us expect acts of terrorism any time and anywhere. It looks like they have reached their goal.

    Buzubaev cited figures of a poll held in Russia: 81 percent of the Russians are afraid of becoming victims of terrorists and only seven percent are sure terrorism will not befall them.

    According to the Public Opinion Fund, 45 percent of the Russians share the idea that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and the March 11, 2004 attacks in Spain are parts of one large-scale scheming. Only one percent of the Russians believe that new large-scale acts of terrorism are impossible in the near future. 48 percent think that a repetition of the Spanish terrorist acts can equally happen in any part of the world; 7 percent forecast them for Europe, 4 percent for Russia; 4 percent for the United States.

    Terrorism, just as the fear of it, knows of no borders. And so are the mass media, above all thanks to the Internet and television. This means that the role of journalists in the struggle against terrorism has to be jointly fixed.

    Participants in the International Media Forum will try to find ways of meeting these no-simple goals. It will be only the beginning of the road towards determining the role of the global mass media in the struggle against global terrorism, stress organisers of the forum.

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