The media has an important role in safeguarding national security through playing a watchdog role over the three arms of the state – the executive, legislature and judiciary.
This was part of the discussions at the Zimbabwe National Defence University (ZNDU) where representatives from both the public and private media gave presentations.
When it comes to access to information, there is usually a conflict between the media and those entrusted with national security.
On one side, the media believes it can responsibly regulate itself to know parameters when it comes to national interests.
Some security apparatus on the other side believe the media can endanger national security through irresponsible reporting.
In presenting a media lecture on the role of the media in national security to Course Number 7/2018 at the ZNDU this Thursday, ZBC Acting Head News and Current Affairs Mr Albert Chekayi said the media must put national interests first, but cannot afford to ignore its responsibility of making the three arms of the state accountable to the citizenry.
“It is the role of the public media to hold public office bearers accountable, grill public officers and even security chiefs,” said Mr Chekayi.
Zimpapers Executive Director Mr William Chikoto urged the media to be responsible and warned against publishing messages which can cause disharmony and despondency in the country.
“The media must be credible and objective in their reportage,” Mr Chikoto said.
The Financial Gazette Editor Mr John Kachembere’s presentation emphasized how the media bridges the gap which connects the people and government.
“The media is a bridge which connects the people and the government of the day, hence it is called the fourth estate,’’ said Mr Kachembere.
The ZNDU recognises the importance of information dissemination in issues to do with national security, according to the institution’s Deputy Senior Directing Staff Air Commodore Brian Chikonzo.
“Media plays an important role in the dissemination of information that’s why we invite the media at every course to equip our students,” said Air Commodore Chikonzo.
The panelists also took questions from the participants and other issues that were discussed include cultural imperialism, the role of the social media and the future of the print media among others.