Terror video reached 83% of British population

August 22, 2014, 6:48 AM GMT+0

83% of the British population has heard about the video showing the beheading of James Foley; 40% have seen a photograph of it and 25% have seen or heard an extract

The impact, in pure media terms, of the recent terror video showing the execution of American Journalist James Foley is revealed today by a new YouGov poll for the Times Red Box. Just three days after it was posted online, the video has reached an extraordinary number of people in the UK.

83% of British people heard about the video showing the beheading. 40% saw a photograph from the video somewhere in the media.

25% actually saw or heard an extract from it, whose killer had an accent thought to be from the east London area.

2% even watched the whole video, shared on social media and YouTube, although the Metropolitan Police have warned that doing so may be an offence under terrorism laws.

A note of caution should be observed over the online nature of the survey, as non-internet users may have a lower awareness of the video.

However, despite the chilling effectiveness of the Islamic States marketing strategies, there is no appetite for suppressing the story in the media. Given the choice, most British people (56%) would rather know about such videos than for them to be kept hidden to minimise their impact.

That said, most people do not think that the media should be permitted to play entire execution videos on their channels. 43% say that no part of the videos like these should be shown in the media, and a further 32% say that they should be allowed to be shown if the killing part is removed. Only 15% say there should be no censorship at all.

An unnamed former captive who was held by Islamic State in Syria has said he believes James Foley’s killer to be one of several British militants charged with guarding prisoners, nicknamed ‘the Beatles’ by hostages. Mr Foley, 40, had been missing since 2012 when he was seized in Syria.

See the full poll results