ISIS propaganda focuses on state building

Over half of ISIS propaganda now focuses on domestic and civilian issues rather than militancy

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

ISIS militants in tank

A UK-based think tank set up to counter extremism has compiled a log of propaganda material published by ISIS and noted a change in style in the militant group's communications, with its announcements, broadcasts and publications now focusing less on violence and more on civilian life in the territories under its control.

The Quilliam Foundation reported that ISIS has produced approximately 900 reports, rulings, videos and radio shows over the course of a month in which they largely focused on economic activity, social events, wildlife, and law and order.

Four hundred and sixty nine of the items archived out of the 900 concentrated on civilian life and statehood.

Speaking to The Independent newspaper, the report’s author Charlie Winter noted that ISIS produced “40 separate units of propaganda a day.”

"It's really pushing the idea of it being a land of plenty. That's the ingenuity behind [ISIS] propaganda, it's very strategic,” Winter said.

"It's an industrial scale attempt to create a pervasive image of life going on as normal within the borders of the [group's self-proclaimed Islamic state]. It's a way of buoying up support at home.”

Noting a shift in topics covered by the broadcasts, Winter was further quoted by the BBC as saying, "The brutality, mercy and belonging narratives are still present - but instances of those three are vastly outnumbered by the others."

"Through the portrayal of seemingly every facet of life in the 'Caliphate' - from treatise on hijab [headscarves] and martyrdom to melon agriculture, [ISIS] propagandists are able to create and cultivate a comprehensive image of utopia."

Despite losing much territory as a result of US-led coalition air strikes that started last year, ISIS still controls swathes of land seized in Syria and Iraq where it is estimated to rule over a population of 10 million people. 

TRTWorld and agencies