Islamic State releases '38 pieces of propaganda every day'

Islamic State (IS) has created a media "behemoth" which is pumping out 38 different pieces of propaganda every day, a new report has found.

Over 30 days the terrorist group disseminated a total of 1,146 discrete batches of material from videos and photo essays to audio statements and songs, according to a survey by the security think-tank Quilliam.

Researchers said the volume of output far exceeds most estimates and warned authorities that attempts at censorship are bound to fail in the face of an "exceptionally sophisticated information operation".

Quilliam managing director Haras Rafiq, said: "In many respects IS is operating like a media company. Our response has to be proportionate.

"We must realise that there is no elixir that can deliver us from IS's information supremacy, no catch-all counter-narrative to undercut its carefully cultivated and choreographed image. In this absence, we must instead seek to enrich our understanding. The IS 'caliphate' is marketing itself on an industrial scale.

"If we are to destroy its brand, we must first be able to fathom its depths."

Between July 17 and August 15, researchers recorded hundreds of separate propaganda "events" which were published by dozens of production units in IS-controlled territory.

Analysis of an abridged sample of 892 pieces of material showed that:

:: The themes of mercy, belonging and brutality made up just 3% of the dataset and are now dwarfed by the narratives of victimhood, war and utopia.

:: IS - also known as Isil - still "markets itself with brutality" but the intended audiences for ultraviolent content are more regional than previously.

:: Social media has emerged as the arena of choice for jihadist propagandising, while IS has dropped its use of "official" accounts on Twitter in a bid to defy attempts to remove their content.

The report concluded that a "scaled up, progressive and energetic" set of counter-propaganda campaigns must be integrated into strategies to counter IS's influence around the world.

It added: "Until this is the case, counter campaigns, while commendable, will always face a Sisyphean task."

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