Insurgent-Generated Content and Framing of “The New Internationalist Commune” of Rojava
Of all the insurgent groups competing to win the hearts and minds of Western populations through digital media campaigns, the Rojava Commune in Northern Syria has been one of the most successful. This group has been able to portray itself as the only legitimate and credible actor in the Syrian conflict, generate support for its cause, and draw thousands of foreign fighters and transnational volunteers from the West. We have coined the term insurgent-generated content (IGC) to describe its elaborately produced media content, sophisticated message, and skillful use of digital media, which reduces its dependence on the mainstream media. Because this genre has not received comprehensive analytical attention, our study explores the YouTube videos of the internationalist volunteers in Rojava to demonstrate the semi-journalistic qualities of IGC and illustrate the public relations aspects for the insurgent group. Our frame analysis demonstrates that these insurgents utilize a securitization frame to justify the use of extraordinary measures, including violence, in their activism. Perhaps more important, the group’s appeal seems congruent with broader Western sensibilities, despite its communist leanings.