When the theatre of terror emerged

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What began as the 1972 Munich Olympic Games quickly became a global media event, a live broadcast of a deadly terrorist attack that changed the future of modern terrorism. Broadcast to an audience of over 900 million, the event was a game changer that changed the relationships within the triangle terrorism-media-public. The ‘new’ terrorism, following the Munich massacre, has adapted the new rules of the game, the rules of media-oriented actions. Media-oriented terrorism is the use of pre-planned attacks that are wittingly designed to get media attention and coverage and consequently to reach the general public and decision makers. This article presents two powerful concepts in communication and terrorism paradigm that emerged from this tragic event: the notion of The Theatre of Terror and the notion of Coercive Media Events. Finally, it examines post-Munich trends and especially how terrorists’ migration to social media and online platforms has preserved and refined their lessons from the Munich attack.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-572
Number of pages20
JournalIsrael Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Black September
  • Media events
  • Munich massacre
  • online terrorism
  • social media
  • theatre of terror

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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