Breaking Down ISIS Propaganda By Its Source

ISIS propaganda comes in many forms — magazine, radio, "news agency." Here's a look at a few of them.

By Jake Godin | January 15, 2016

You’ve probably seen some of the more infamous ISIS propaganda videos by now — or at least clips from them.

But the terror group’s media strategy is a little more … expansive. 

Take "Dabiq" for example. This is ISIS' English-language magazine.

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While not exactly the most visual medium (there's a lot of reading), "Dabiq" and other ISIS magazines released in different languages are a potent source of propaganda. 

There are interviews (like the one with the Paris attackers), justifications for controversial decisions (like slavery) and propaganda against those it deems enemies.

ISIS also has a radio station called Al-Bayan.

Although radio pieces are probably intended for those in ISIS-held territory, the audio is also available online where anyone can listen. ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi's speeches are also released. 

There’s also Amaq — an unofficial ISIS news agency of sorts. Its releases lack the typical propaganda in the ISIS videos. 

Amaq's coverage mainly relates to the aftermath of airstrikes in ISIS-held cities or raw footage of fighters on the front line. It’s a lot different than ISIS’ more traditional videos that offer soundtracks and glimpses into the caliphate life.

Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, studied a single week of ISIS propaganda releases in April last year. He found that ISIS tends to use its media as a “force multiplier” — essentially making it seem like the terror group is doing more than it really is.

Of course, in the end, it’s all just propaganda.

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