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Advanced Capacity Building Course on Strategic Communications for Effective Prevention of Violent Extremism

September 19, 2023 @ 8:00 am September 21, 2023 @ 5:00 pm

Kuala Lumpur, 19-21 September 2023 – The Initiative to Promote Tolerance and Prevent Violence (INITIATE.MY) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) co-organised the “Advanced Capacity Building Course on Strategic Communications for Effective Prevention of Violent Extremism”. This training brought together 30 participants from various sectors including government agencies, law enforcement bodies, civil society organisations (CSOs) especially youth leaders and activists.

The advanced course represented an in-depth continuation of the initial series in May and June 2023. This training aimed to provide the participants with essential knowledge and skills in understanding and applying strategic communications in preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE).

Ekraj Sabur from UNODC was welcoming the participants to the Advanced Capacity Building Course on Strategic Communications for Effective Prevention of Violent Extremism.
Shaik Irfan, a researcher at INITIATE.MY was briefing the participants on housekeeping rules for the workshop.

During the training, participants engaged with a diverse range of topics, including the stocktaking analysis on Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism (IMVE) and the framework of PCVE communication, which delved into topics like framing, messaging, and audience analysis. 

Led by Dr. Noor Huda Ismail from Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), the course further scrutinised extremist narratives, offering insights into both successful and unsuccessful attempts to counter them through various case studies. Understanding the intricate psychology of communication was a focal point in this training. It covers cognitive biases, psychological factors influencing perception and belief formation, and the impact of emotions on messaging and audience engagement.

An interactive session on “Strategies for Social Media and Digital Platforms Utilisation for P/CVE Messaging” delivered by Dr. Noor Huda Ismail from RSIS.

The course also examined the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator in the case of terrorism, focusing on the interrelatedness of the narratives, roles, and identities of victimhood for both the victims and perpetrators. 

Perassath Servai, a participant of the Advanced Course was sharing his thoughts on the victim-perpetrator relationship to other participants.

Moreover, the session on “Creative Non-Fiction to Challenge Violent Extremist Narratives” underscored the potential of storytelling in countering extremist narratives. Through emotional connection, nuanced framing, and the promotion of critical thinking, a good storytelling can become an effective tool in crafting counternarratives to build resilience against extremism. Participants learned to incorporate creative non-fiction techniques into their communication strategies to create alternative peaceful narratives and highlight the dangerous effects of extremism.

Nurnadiah Natasya from Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) was presenting her input during the project pitch session.

Overall, this advanced course highlights the multi-stakeholder involvement, with a particular emphasis on engaging the youth demographic to fortify PCVE initiatives aimed at bolstering social resilience. Confronted by the alarming surge in hate speech, disinformation, and the proliferation of violent content in Malaysia, the strategic use of PCVE-oriented communications emerges as a paramount tool for countering these threats.

Recognising that this training should not be a one-off engagement, 12 exceptional participants will be chosen to represent Malaysia to present their innovative PCVE strategic communications projects at the forthcoming Strategic Communications Festival in Bali, Indonesia.

Group 2 pitched their project of “Teh Tarik and Rojak” symbolising the food that unites all Malaysians regardless of one’s race and religion.