Progress Update on Countering Daesh’s Narrative

Coalition partners are committed to an effective and unified Coalition communications effort to marginalising Daesh’s influence; assisting and amplifying credible and authentic voices from the region and beyond; and supporting the aspirations of people across the region who seek a moderate and modern future of stability, dignity and opportunity. Led by the UAE’s Sawab Centre, the UK-based Coalition Communications Cell, and the US State Department’s Global Engagement Centre, the Coalition is working with a wide variety of credible partners, while welcoming the role of established institutions, such as al-Azhar, that authoritatively challenge Daesh’s world view.

Messaging hubs like the Sawab Center tailor new platforms for regional audiences and enable credible voices to respond quickly to Daesh’s online propaganda. Since its launch in July 2015, the Sawab Centre has contested Daesh’s online presence by responding directly to its propaganda through immediate reactive messaging as well as proactive campaigns and content that exposes Daesh’s criminal nature, highlights the successes of the Global Coalition, amplifies regional voices of moderation, and offers an alternative, positive vision that underscores the true values and diversity of Islam. The Sawab Centre has consulted and shared its experience with twenty countries and international organisations that are interested in efforts to counter violent extremism and regularly coordinates with other members of the Coalition on social media campaigns and to align messaging.

The Coalition’s unified message focuses on Daesh’s failure and its internal collapse. This strategy is overseen the by the Communications Cell and informs its daily and weekly English and Arabic messaging. The joint communications planning includes close co-ordination with the Coalition’s other lines of efforts and the military campaign, maximizing the communications effect of Coalition activity. The activity has made full use of the Coalition’s digital brand and presence through and its associated twitter handles @Coalition, @CoalitionFR, @CoalitionAR.

As a result, Daesh is now no longer able to dominate the information space uncontested, be it online or offline. According to a recent Rand study, on average there are now six people opposing Daesh’s message online for every one supporting it. There has been a 45% decrease in the overall volume of pro-Daesh tweets since June 2014 and the average number of followers per pro-Daesh account has dropped from a 2014 high of 1,500 to around 300 today.

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