The increasing dissemination of false and sensationalised information can lead to panic, break public trust, and compromise security measures. Starting with the observation, a roundtable on ‘The Role of Media in National Security’ was held at the Westin, Dhaka, in the capital, organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS). The event was moderated by Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, ndc, psc (retd), president, BIPSS, said a press release.
In his opening remarks, Maj Gen ANM Muniruzzaman (retd) stated that the role of the media in national security is multifaceted and essential. It acts as a beacon of truth, an agent of accountability, and a defender of the public interest. He added that, as citizens, it is our duty to consume news critically, to demand accuracy and integrity, and to support a media that upholds the values that define our nation. And as the media continues to evolve in this digital age, let us remember that its impact on national security will remain indelible, shaping the course of our nation's security. National security does not only mean the safeguarding of the territorial boundary of the state but also the need to safeguard the core values of the state.
Zafar Sobhan, editor of Dhaka Tribune discussed the importance of ensuring accountability in which the media plays a critical role. Under the term accountability, there also comes the accountability of public finance, and accountability of actions revolving around the public domain. While tracing back to the history of 1971, he talked about the role of media in portraying the unity among the people that also affected diplomacy and the actions of international players.
Sudeep Chakravarty, director of the Center for South Asian Studies (C-SAS), discussed the general terms of security that security forces help to understand the internal security dynamics in the South Asian countries. People in the armed forces know better what is happening on the ground and incorporating media there will give them the scope to portray the right information.
Brigadier General Shahedul Anam Khan, (Retd), former associate editor of The Daily Star, started with the conceptual meaning of what national security defines. To him, national security is the ability of the state to address coercive influence in functions for the betterment of society. Theoretical explanations were added as security is based on three factors, realism, liberalism, to good governance. As national security is constant, it does not depend on a particular occurrence. Moreover, he brought up the issue of the CNN effect and the reality of bad reporting.
After the deliberation shared by the panelists, the floor was opened for lively interaction with the attendees.
The roundtable was attended by ambassadors, foreign diplomats, officials, retired civil and military bureaucrats, academics, and media persons.