Since 2019, Albany has led the delivery of the Global Media Centre (GMC). Funded by the US Department of State, GMC identifies and nurtures credible Strategic Voices in both Kosovo and Kyrgyzstan, whose powerful, personal testimonies can impact individuals vulnerable to engaging in terrorist behaviour through mainstream and social media and prevent them from being recruited into terrorist groups, carrying our acts of terrorism, or venturing to become a foreign fighters.
The GMC has followed three phases. In the first phase, Albany conducted extensive research and identified target audiences, media distributors and Strategic Voices that would be best placed to deliver the desired CVE effect.
In phase two, working closely with our international and local delivery partners, Albany delivered a comprehensive package of PR and training support to Strategic Voices, combining practical on-screen and social media strategy training while raising their profiles within Kosovo and Kyrgyzstan. Each GMC voice was essentially transformed into a brand – one with both depth and credibility target audiences.
In Kyrgyzstan, for example, the GMC held a Zoom ‘seminar ’ in October 2020 bringing together civil society from across the Kyrgyz Republic and UK, faith leaders, media and government representatives. The event included representatives from Faith Associates, a civil society organisation that monitors and awards mosques and madrassas for improving safeguarding standards. It also featured Empowering Minds, a UK-based CSO that runs the successful Mothers Against Radicalisation program, which empowers mothers to stand against online grooming and radicalization and equips them with practical tools for doing so. The influencers featured across the significant media coverage that the team achieved off the back of the event.
The project is currently in Phase 3, where the focus is on creating highly targeted social media content carrying the testimonies of the GMC’s Strategic Voices, with the aim of creating a ‘cognitive stop’ in those at the highest risk of terrorist behavior.
Albany and our partners have successfully raised the media profiles of the GMC’s Strategic Voices from a very low base to being featured on the leading TV news bulletins and the key news channels online. In Kyrgyzstan, for example, we achieved a total audience reach of over 6.3 million, whilst in Kosovo, our lead Strategic Voice’s personal brand is now known to journalists, reporters and bloggers, who regard him as reliable source of commentary on issues around countering terrorism in Kosovo. Building on the strong momentum of the first two phases, we will soon be releasing our core communications content (campaign films and intimate interviews with Strategic Voices) in order to build the resilience of primary CT audiences to terrorist and extremist influencing efforts and induce a ’cognitive stop’ in those individuals at risk of terrorist behaviour.