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Capacity-Building Workshop on Strategic Communication for the Prevention of Violent Extremism
May 29 @ 8:00 am – June 8 @ 5:00 pm
Kuala Lumpur, 29 May-8 June 2023 – Initiative to Promote Tolerance and Prevent Violence (INITIATE.MY), in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) co-organised two series of “Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Communication for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE)”. This workshop brought together over 60 participants from various sectors including government agencies, law enforcement bodies, civil society organisations (CSOs), as well as youth leaders and activists, providing them with essential knowledge and skills in understanding and implementing strategic communications in their respective fields.
Throughout the duration of the training course, participants embarked on a comprehensive exploration of Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism (IMVE) within the realms of both online and offline contexts. Dr. Mukhriz Mat Rus, an esteemed academic from Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), served as a resource person, sharing his invaluable insights and expertise on the subject matter. Additionally, the participants were presented with compelling case studies from INITIATE.MY’s team, drawing from their extensive database. These case studies shed light on incidents of IMVE, including instances of on-campus radicalisation and the proliferation of dangerous online narratives on platforms such as TikTok, particularly in the aftermath of the 2022 general election.
The workshop’s main trainer, Dr. Noor Huda Ismail from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), delivered his expertise on strategic communications, providing participants with a comprehensive understanding of the various components within this field. One notable highlight of the workshop was the screening of the influential and thought-provoking documentary film “Kembali Ke Titik” (Return to the Starting Point), a collaborative effort between Dr. Ismail and Mr. Ridho Dwi Ristiyanto. This documentary presented a compelling narrative about a former terrorist fighter who returned to his family, serving as a powerful medium to effectively convey impactful messages and raise awareness among a wider audience.
In addition to Dr. Ismail’s contributions, local practitioners in art, media, mediation, and research from organisations such as the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Anomalist Production, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the Institute of Research and National Integration Training (IKLIN), MyCheck Malaysia and IMAN Research shared their best practices, along with the challenges they face and strategies to overcome them. Their profound insights provided diverse perspectives on countering hate and promoting inclusive narratives across a wide range of platforms and mediums. These invaluable tools are essential for fostering and safeguarding the multi-religious and ethnic diversity of Malaysia.
Another part of the training emphasised the practical application and customisation of key communication principles and techniques in participants’ group projects. By equipping participants with essential tools and knowledge, the training aimed to enable meaningful engagement with target audiences and deepen their understanding of the risks and consequences related to violent extremism.
It is worth noting that this training program was part of UNODC’s Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism (STRIVE ASIA) initiative, which received generous funding from the European Union. The presence and opening speeches of esteemed individuals such as Mr. Timea Magony, Junior Professional in Delegation (JPD), Mr. Ekraj Sabur, UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Officer, and Aizat Shamsuddin, INITIATE.MY’s Founder, further underscored the strong support for the program’s objectives. Mr. Hisham Muhaimi, INITIATE.MY’s Project Coordinator and the main coordinator of the training, emphasised the importance of ongoing support for the program’s continuation and the implementation of participants’ projects in future rounds.