Free And Independent Media & Free Flow Of Information Key In Preventing Terrorism, Experts Proclaim In Annual Report
By Martin Hill
November 18, 2014


The Global Terrorism Index 2014 -Measuring And Understanding The Impact Of Terrorism", released by The Institute for Economics & Peace, has pointed out that a free and independent media is a key requirement to maintaining the most important 'pillars of peace' and preventing terrorism.

Page 42 of the 94-page pdf report states, in part,


"Countries with higher levels of terrorism perform significantly worse on the Pillars of Peace, a framework developed by IEP to assess the positive peace factors that create peaceful societies. The ten countries with the most deaths from terrorism in 2013 performed 26 per cent worse on the Pillars of Peace compared to the international average. These countries performed particularly poorly on three out of the eight Pillars of Peace. These three Pillars are:

  • Free flow of information, which captures the extent to which citizens can gain access to information, whether the media is free and independent. Peaceful countries tend to have free and independent media, which disseminate information in a way that leads to greater openness and helps individuals and civil society work together. This leads to better decision-making and rational responses in times of crisis.
  • Good relations with neighbours, which refers to the relations between individuals and between communities as well as to cross-border relations. Some of the countries with the highest levels of terrorism border each other.
  • Acceptance of the rights of others, which includes both the formal laws that guarantee basic freedoms as well as the informal social and cultural norms that relate to behaviours of citizens. Yemen is the worst performing country in this Pillar, with Nigeria and Pakistan also performing in the bottom ten. The countries with the highest rates of terrorism also have certain commonalities in behaviours and attitudes. Corruption is generally higher among the 10 countries with the highest number of deaths from terrorism. According to the Gallup World Values Survey, these countries experience 11 per cent more people facing a bribe situation than the international average. All ten countries have significant Muslim populations and there are relatively more people expressing the view that the West is in conflict with the Muslim world. The rates of political terror and political instability are also significantly higher in these ten countries than the international average."
  • [RELATED: "Illegitimate and corrupt governments," State-Sponsored Violence & "Perceptions Of Criminality" Top Influences In Rise Of Terrorism]
    "Lack Of Political Legitimacy" & "Powerful external actors upholding corrupt regimes" cited as causes of terrorism in presitious annual report

    The Pillars of Peace document itself, originally released in 2013, states

    "Pillars of Peace is a new conceptual framework for understanding and describing the factors associated a with peaceful society. The framework outlines the characteristics that are most closely associated with peace. It is the first empirical framework aimed at measuring positive peace, which can be understood as the structures, attitudes and institutions that move society towards resolving conflict in a non-violent way. The research defines 8 key Pillars that underpin peace; these Pillars are both interdependent and mutually reinforcing, meaning that the relative strength of any one Pillar has the potential to either positively or negatively influence peace.. The Pillars are:
  • Well-functioning government
  • Sound business environment
  • Equitable distribution of resources
  • Acceptance of the rights of others
  • Good relations with neighbours
  • Free flow of information
  • High levels of education
  • Low levels of corruption
    The Pillars of Peace is a viable first step to enable better monitoring and evaluation of progress. The research will help facilitate stronger evidence based policy in development assistance. It can also be used as a reference tool in identifying indicators and tracking the progress of the post 2015 development agenda.
  • The 68 page pdf can be found here PILLARS OF PEACE: Understanding the key attitudes and institutions that underpin peaceful societies

    The 'FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION' Section of the 'PILLARS OF PEACE' begins on page 36; here are the relevant excerpts:

    "The free flow of information is essential to a wellinformed society. Accurate and well-distributed information underpins the free market, improves human capital, provides transparency of government decisions and improves judicial and government decisions. The measures for the free flow of information capture how easily citizens can gain access to information, including whether the media is free and independent, as well as the extent to which citizens are informed and engaged in the political process and the diversity of access to information, such as measured through internet access or simply the ability to express political views. In this sense, the free flow of information is an attempt to account for the degree of access to information as well as the independence of that information from vested political and economic interests. In this respect, freedom of the press is also helpful in countering corruption as greater transparency can provide a means for increasing the oversight of resource distribution by the media [70].

    Freedom of information can have many flowon effects for society as the open and unbiased dissemination of information helps play a key role in keeping governments accountable, driving economic efficiencies and enabling civil society to better participate in political processes and express opinions without fear or prejudice. Media is also an important driver of community perceptions, with research suggesting that the way in which information is presented can have a powerful impact on community perceptions of reality. In addition, because media can potentially be dominated by government, the elite or other interest groups, both the coverage and saturation are important. That is, the free flow of information requires sufficient competition in the supply of information in order to ensure the quantity of information available to communities is also matched with quality.

    Overall, those countries which had greater information flows also tended to be more peaceful. Measures pertaining to greater press freedom and communication coverage were positively associated with peace....This tendency for nations with freer flowing information to be more peaceful also held true when analysed by the reported mobile phone usage, with countries with higher mobile phone ownership tending to be more peaceful. This has been illustrated in Figure 17. This contention is supported by research focusing on households in Uganda. Specifically, it was found that greater mobile phone coverage accompanied increases in commodity sales in remote communities

    The International Institute of Social Studies Civic Activism' measure was also found to be strongly associated with the level of peace. The indicator is comprised of a mix of quantitative, qualitative and surveybased measures of civic participation. These include access to civic associations, participation in the media, and the means to participate in civic activities such as nonviolent demonstration or petition. Civic activism is essential in ensuring that public institutions function in an accountable and transparent manner, with participation and representation for all. A key focus of the measure is as an indicator of how informed citizens are and whether they are able to demand action of government through non-violent action, such as protests and petitions. Some of the indicators used as part of this index include the proportion of people who have listened to news broadcasts several times in a week, the number of radios and newspapers per capita. The strong association between civic activism and peace is provided in Figure 17. In this sense, civic activism is not measuring direct political involvement but rather if citizens have the means to remain well informed.
    This can be seen as an important proxy for people using this information in their daily lives so they can have informed conversations and be able to understand the events that affect them. The analysis clearly suggests that regions where citizens are better informed also tend to be more peaceful. It was also found that those countries which are most peaceful are full and flawed democracies. This tendency is also supported by the 'U-Curve Hypothesis' which suggests that civil conflict will tend to be less likely in political systems which allow for non-violent means of channelling political grievances.

    Concluding Comments
    The free flow of information captures how easily citizens can gain access to information, whether the media is free and independent, as well as the extent to which citizens are informed and engaged in the political process. After analysing a wide range of factors relating to information flows and the penetration of communication infrastructure it was found that countries with greater levels of information flows also tend to be the most peaceful.
    In high, upper-middle, and even lower-middle income economies, internet access is a critical medium for information dissemination.

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    Free And Independent Media & Free Flow Of Information Key In Preventing Terrorism, Experts Proclaim In Annual Report

    — Martin (@LibertyFight) November 18, 2014

    Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise,,,,, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association,,, WorldNetDaily,,,,, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show,, Pasadena Weekly,, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640,, Redlands Daily Facts,, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report,,,,, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze,,, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer,, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

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