French media’s blackout on terrorists’ identities is missing the point | Jason Burke

Le Monde and others in the press will now stop publishing photos of attackers to prevent ‘posthumous glorification’. But social media is another story

Back in 2012, at the beginning of the wave of terrorist violence that has now broken out over France, a 23-year-old petty criminal called Mohammed Merah killed seven people in Toulouse and the nearby town of Montauban. While police surrounded his small apartment, Merah spent his final hours editing together a 20-minute video clip of images of his killings.

Shortly before dying in a firefight, Merah slipped through the police lines around his home and posted a USB key containing the clip to Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV network. It was never broadcast. But the fact that Merah, as a final act, was still thinking about publicity, and using the mainstream media to obtain that publicity, is striking.

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