Fighting political terrorism by refusing recognition: A critique of frey's proposal

Nehemia Friedland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Frey (1987) proposed a new information policy designed to lower the utility of terrorist action. The policy is predicated on the assumption that terrorists aim to draw public attention to their cause. Therefore, the terrorists’ rewards can be reduced by refraining from attributing a particular terrorist act to any one group. Faced with diminished rewards, terrorists are likely to give up violent action or to resort to tactics that put them in greater jeopardy. The present article offers a thorough analysis of Frey's proposal. It shows that the proposal derives from a too limited view of the terrorist strategy and from unrealistic assumptions about the extent to which democratic governments can control the sources and the dissemination of information. A of Frey's proposal according to criteria drawn from a more comprehensive view of the terrorist strategy leads to the conclusion that the proposed policy is both impractical and counterproductive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1989


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