The democratic access to the Internet has changed not only our society, but also the strategies used by extremists. Currently, it is not difficult to find propaganda produced by extremists on social media, communication apps and even videogames. The flow of messages inciting violence seems to have influenced the spread of terrorism (in 2014, the number of countries that suffered a terrorist attack reached a record: citizens from 93 countries died or were injured due to terrorism).
Besides terrorist attacks perpetrated by groups such as Daesh, Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda, some countries have suffered attacks motivated by hate against immigrants and Muslims. Many researches have pointed out an increase in the number of Neo-Nazi groups that preach the purity of race.
The amount of extremist propaganda that can reach anybody on the Internet and the spread of extremist groups are followed by another problem. More than 40.000 foreigners from 120 countries joined terrorist groups between 2011 and 2016 and many of them have started returning home. What is coming next? Many of them may return traumatized, some of them may intend to have a normal life and others may become recruiters for new attacks in different places. And it is also worth mentioning the new generation of jihadists that have been trained by some extremist groups: an unknown number of children that are learning to kill without mercy.
In the middle of this chaos, some institutions have started fighting on their own against extremism/radicalization and we believe journalists can play an important role on this struggle.
In the past, we have seen different types of terrorism, but none of them have used so much the Internet as nowadays. Many contemporary terrorist groups have been using digital media for recruitment and fund raising, turning the fight against terrorism much more difficult because it is not limited to the battlefield anymore. It goes far beyond that.
We believe the fight against extremism begins in the communications field and journalists can play an important role on that. In order to join global efforts to tackle extremism, we decided to develop this platform that will enable a search per continent for institutions that have worked against extremism.
WORDS HEAL THE WORLD was created to help anyone who wants to warn their community to stay away from extremist ideologies. Here, people will find information about the centres that fight extremism worldwide and they will also be able to access some recent researches about this subject.
Extremists have been using words as weapons and, as journalists, it is our duty to contribute with civil society on its efforts to develop effective counter-narratives, especially focused on youth.
Although Brazil has never suffered a terrorist attack, we believe we are not detached from this problem and
WORDS HEAL THE WORLD intends to increase the visibility of many institutions that have worked to prevent the spread of violence.
Some governments have worked in the battlefield to extinguish extremist groups. Journalists work with words and we believe words can heal some of the damage caused by extremist ideologies.