The minister of defence, Mansur Dan Ali, has called for synergy among the security agencies and the media for enhanced internal security and protection of the territorial integrity of the nation.
The defence minister made this call in Kaduna yesterday, at the national workshop on the theme, ’Civil-Military Relations and the Media in Contemporary Polity.’
He said that given the theme of the workshop, it is expected that deliberations on ways and means of forging the needed synergy between both institutions would be achieved.
The minister explained that the main goal of military activities was no longer exclusively the defeat of an adversary but creation of a safe environment for comprehensive and inclusive post-conflicts political and social order.
“The post-modern soldier is not only a fighter but a peacekeeper, policeman, diplomat, social worker and peace corps worker for the purpose of underscoring the significance of Civil-Military relations as a management tool in the defence sector of any nation,” he said.
According to him, the media on the other hand is not only skeptical, intrusive, freewheeling and entrepreneurial by its nature, it also responds to the basic tenets to bring to public scrutiny the actions of government, including the military and other security agencies.
Mansur Dan Ali remarked that the divergent orientation and modes of operation were the fundamental reasons for incessant frictions between the media and security agencies both of which, ordinarily, should be united by their common goal of protecting the interest of the country.
“Armed conflict situations or theatres of war often present fertile ground for fiction between the military and the media”, he noted.
The defence minister further stated that, in the worst of armed conflict cases, the military must at all times be conscious of the law and guided by the rules of engagement which demand granting reasonable access and ensuring adequate protection for media practitioners.
He called on journalist to also be guided by professional ethics, corporate social responsibility and related principles of responsible and developmental journalism.
He added that the media had a duty to exercise restraint about the content of reports on frontline situations in order to avoid feeding the public with graphic facts and sensitive information that may invisibly strengthen the enemy camp to the detriment of legitimate state authorities.
He also urged the participants to ensure that deliberate efforts are sustained in creating a framework for enhanced synergy amongst the two institutions in order to efficiently combat the rising level of crimes and criminality in Nigeria.
The papers that were presented at the workshop on day one include, ‘Civil Military Relations: Overview of Concepts, Institutional Framework and Roles,’ by Mahmud Jega.
The paper on ‘Defence and Security Information Management: Media Perspective’ was presented by the executive secretary, Centre for Crisis Communication, Air Commodore Y. Anas (rtd), while Commodore K Aliyu (rtd) presented spoke on ‘Defence and Security Information Management: Security Perspective.’