Dutch anti-terrorism agency dropped plan for secret anti-radicalization video campaign: report
Between 2015 and 2017 the Dutch national counter-terrorism coordinator NCTV was working on a secret campaign to prevent young Muslims from becoming radicalized. It consisted of videos showing young people deciding against radicalization, intended to be a counterpoint for propaganda from terrorist organizations like Islamic State. The idea was dropped after a similar campaign in Amsterdam caused an uproar, NRC reported based on internal NCTV emails and questions to National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism and Security Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg.
The idea to spread these anti-radicalization videos among young Muslims came from Iris psychologist David Kenning, according to NRC. The plan, internally called 'Brand Destruction', was not positively received by everyone in the NCTV, with analysts calling Kenning a "false prophet" that pays too little attention to religious ideology in radicalization. There were also concerns about young people feeling betrayed by the State if they found out about such secret video campaigns.
The plan was dropped in 2017, when a similar campaign by the municipality of Amsterdam became public knowledge. Kenning was also involved in the Amsterdam campaign. The NCTV worried that this would harm the entire prevention policy and therefore "redesigned" project Brand Destruction, a spokesperson for the NCTV said to NRC. Instead of videos aimed at young Muslims, a video was made for youth workers, police officers, and municipalities with information on how ISIS recruits young people.
Since then, the NCTV hasn't started any further campaigns itself. Instead the service supports existing initiatives. Through the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, the NCTV also grants subsidy to performances that aim to make young people more resilient against radicalization.