The Issue Motivated Group (IMG) landscape and how it is affecting business
If you want to know more about the effects of Issue Motivated Groups (IMG) or how environmental protestors can affect your company’s project/s then you’ll want to read this article. Specifically we’ll examine how a local activist group can influence the local population, their use of social media technologies and engaging the services of professional support networks.
After reading this article, you should will be able to identify they key factors of IMG tactics intent and how it affects your business with the ability to expand their local complaint beyond the borders of their town and into the social conscious of the international community.
Local Protestors / Activists
When a proposed project has perceived potential to affect Lifestyle, Community, Indigenous Rights or the Environment there are active members within that community that feel they must speak up and oppose the development. Their reasons may be unified or may differ slightly however the one common cause will unite them to begin lobbying local council and members of parliament. They will also make efforts to gain local media attention in order to educate the local population about their objection to a project. The purpose of this is to gain more numbers to voice their opposition and therefore gain the interest of the larger media outlets. The rise of opposition may also be engineered or spurred on by outside agents, delivered locally too.
Once the local population is influenced through normally unopposed propaganda, the activist group is able to create the illusion of large support for their opposition to a cause by arranging information nights, rallies and group petition signing. The activist group will also employ the larger numbers to assist with blockade action through crowd support and more high profile activities such as locking-on (handcuffs, ropes, chains, etc) to machinery or sitting in tree tops to gain the attention of mainstream media. The increase of numbers seen to support an illegal activity is a way of legitimising these actions. All of these activities are covered extensively through their own social media network, allowing exposure of their cause well beyond the borders of a town, state or country.
The local activists will set up information pages (which will be one-sided and laced with propaganda) and blogs through group and personal Face Book pages, Twitter accounts and blog sites. Local population will be invited to visit these sites and become friends to that site which in turn links them to their friends. Once this link has been developed, daily posts are viewed by all people who are either directly linked to these pages or indirectly by being linked to a person who is. Additionally other activist sites link into these pages and information is shared constantly about each other’s causes, tactics and professional support. It is also typical of mainstream media to research a majority of their information for an article through web and social media research which has potential to give a distinctly one sided view. Too many businesses underestimate the negative and viral impact of a well cropped image or cleverly edited video to influence an audience and capture supportive sentiment.
Professional Support Networks
Once the issue has gained a loud voice through these methods, professional causes groups will assist through;
- Provision of legal advice and support,
- Consultants who have extensive experience in protest action,
- Lend their celebrity to a cause to gain high profile media attention,
- Recruit other activists to join the protest action,
- Assist with funding or arrange fund raising activities,
- Arrange and coordinate protest rallies, petitions and information sessions in Capital cities around the nation,
- Professional assistance in the development of YouTube video
Once the movement has gained sufficient attention it is this support network that drives a more professional protest action back through the chain to the activists on the ground.
You now have the understanding of how an Issue Motivated Group develops its ability through enlisting the support of a local population and into the minds of a national conscience through legal and illegal action designed to get mainstream media attention. We examined how a local activist group can influence the local population, their use of social media technologies and engaging the services of professional support networks
Through understanding how they develop these networks you will be able to identify the actions of growing issue motivated group and develop effective strategies to counter their propaganda and create a more balanced view within the community.
Further Reading on Issue Motivated Groups and the threat
- Security Awareness and Protective Security for the Australian Defence Force
- ASIO. Threats and Security Environment 2010-2011
- Targeting Information Infrastructures: Who and Why?
- Australian Security Magazine: Improved Security Needed to Protect Key Assets (2008)
- OSAC. Australia 2012 Crime and Safety Report: Canberra
- Information Operations Planning Mannual- Australian Defence Force
- National Security Australia 2010 Conference: Ian McKenzie, Defence Signal Directorate (DSD)
- Australian government steps up secret surveillance of protests (2012)
- Australian Government Information Security Manual 2012
- Disruption to critical energy infrastructure by Issues Motivated Activists
- Security Planning for IMG Activity in QLD, NSW, and Abroad
- ASIO Essay
- Western Australia State Budget 2012-Public Safety
- Comparative Security Risk Assessment- Gina Rinehart