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To stop young people from leaving France to join jihadist groups in Syria or Iraq, the French government has launched a campaign of television spots to raise awareness. Family members of youths who have left talk about them, saying they did not see it coming, and do not understand.

An emergency help phone number appears at the end of each spot. The website is stop-djihadisme.gouv.fr.

Early in the launch, people sounded the alert 3,000 times about potential concerns, 23% among them minors, and most of them girls.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve also announced: “I will make public on 13th October new police measures for the expulsion of diffusers of hate speech, bans on leaving French territory, and bans on entering. We will step up preventive policy through counter-speech, through use of these broadcast clips which the suffering families have helped with. They send a very strong message to our young people tempted to slide towards engaging in terrorism.”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls talks about hundreds, perhaps thousands of young people concerned with radicalisation, as a “considerable challenge for society, which means mobilising families.” A parental psychological support network, to help parents fight brainwashing, is also on the cards.

The counter-propaganda information campaign then is part of the government’s response to prevent jihadist terrorist attacks on home soil and to stop recruitment of people to join those groups abroad. This comes in the wake of last January’s Charlie Hebdo and related killings in Paris.

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