When foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and/or their families return from Syria or Iraq, this can cause commotion, fear and questions within communities and draw maximum media attention. Dealing with this commotion and a possible rise of polarisation, informing all stakeholders and facilitating reintegration into society is a challenge for local authorities.
This paper specifically focuses on the communications challenge that local authorities face in the context of such returnees. Challenges include privacy and data protection, a lack of information or misinformation, dealing with fear and possible stigmatisation. Key points in communicating with schools, the receiving community and the media are highlighted, as well as key tips for dealing with polarisation at the local level.
The paper is written for local (preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE)) coordinators and communications experts who are or will be dealing with returning FTFs and who wish to improve their communication strategy in this context. Read more