Commentary on the Internet as Hiding Place of Jihadi Extremists

It is no secret that violent extremists – whether Jihadists or Neo-Nazis – make intensive use of the internet as a platform for discussion, planning, propaganda and recruitment. Hence, when countering violent extremism, governments will have to face the extremists both off- and online. In this latest ICCT Commentary, Research Fellow Dr. Bibi van Ginkel argues that using repressive measures, such as criminalisation of these online activities (e.g. blocking websites or other forms of social media), is not necessarily the most suitable solution for several reasons. Firstly it is not effective, since other methods will quickly replace blocked options. Secondly it might infringe upon the freedom of expression. And thirdly it is counterproductive – since engaging in an open debate to correct untruths and debunk myths is more effective, and avoids the exclusion of individuals that might lead to further radicalisation.