The role of the media in security reporting

ZOLANI KRAAI

The dynamics of media impact on national security varies from country to country but it is also important to understand that societal security is based on fundamental independent human right, protection of life and property.
These sentiments were shared by Lawrence Seretse, The Botswana Gazette Editor at the Security and Defence Expo held at Molapo Crossing last week. He shared that the media and security policing of a society have a strong connection in the contemporary environment, but the linkage should be better understood by public opinion in times of crisis management.
Seretse stressed that the media’s responsibility is to help promote the good image of its country foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism hence it also exists to report facts accurately, to serve the public taking into consideration accountability while balancing truth and potential harm.
“The pursuit of news is not a license for arrogance and undue intrusiveness because irresponsible journalism can impact negatively on the economy, societal behaviour and security,” Seretse stressed.
He further said media coverage has been an integral part of Botswana diamond sector and tourism worldwide. Seretse argued that there is nothing called negative reporting citing an investigative story in which Botswana journalists traced captive lion breeding, canned hunting, poaching and the smuggling of predators from Botswana and Asia.
“It’s safe to say prominent people were implicated but the positive outcomes of the story meant that laws get corrected and Botswana fauna and flora which our GDP contributes to tourism thrives on, get protected,” Seretse said.
He further advised that the media industry capacitated with skills on reporting national security matters, their professional and ethical obligations and their role in reporting on security sector thus compliment the country’s economy.
Seretse shared Benjamin Franklin quote that, “Those who would sacrifice liberty for the security deserve neither,” stating that sometimes journalists make some difficult choices between the liberty of the society and security hence the link between the media and security is tight and risky but important to the society.

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