The release of a video depicting the purported beheading of American photojournalist James Foley has prompted a backlash against propaganda released by militants with the Islamic State, the group that claimed to have executed him.
The hashtag #ISISMediaBlackout began trending shortly after the video’s release on Tuesday, as Twitter users urged others not to share the video or any other graphic images released by the militant group. The hashtag references one of the group’s names, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and was created shortly after the video was released. It appears to have originated with a woman using the Twitter handle @LibyaLiberty.
“Amputate their reach,” she said in one tweet. “Pour water on their flame.”
you know what I think? And I know how crazy this sounds,but we need an #ISISmediaBlackout. Amputate their reach. Pour water on their flame.
— Hend (@LibyaLiberty) August 19, 2014
The video of Foley’s purported killing was initially posted on YouTube, but taken down shortly afterward. Still images from the video were removed from Twitter.
The Islamic State laid blame for Foley’s apparent execution on President Obama’s recent decision to launch airstrikes in Iraq, and said a second journalist, Steven Sotloff, who was also shown in the video, would be killed if the strikes did not cease.
Some individuals, including Al Jazeera America’s Wajahat Ali, said sharing the images of Foley’s apparent death on social media played into the militant group’s hands.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) August 19, 2014
Others wondered if the hashtag was wise. Other radical groups use Twitter and do not get the same reaction, one noted:
The problem with #ISISmediaBlackout is that it’s not extensive enough. Don’t think other radical elements don’t exploit media.
— Phillip Smyth (@PhillipSmyth) August 19, 2014
Another user suggested journalists “have a responsibility” to report murder:
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Steven Sotloff, journalist held captive by the Islamic State, went missing in Syria