Mass Media, Terrorism and National Security: Defining the Threats

Solomon Samuel Gonina, Linus Mun Ngantem


The menace of terrorism has been a source of worry to communication specialists. This is more so due to the centrality of communication, particularly the mass media, to the challenge posed by different security concerns, especially national security and terrorism. Violence is escalating rapidly, impacting on local communities, sparking dissensions and eventually, further tensions. Despite being a potent instrument to fighting terrorism and insecurity, this research explores the interface of mass media with security issues, as well as the challenges the media pose to national security, given that the mass media themselves sometimes are a form of threat to the security of nations and their peoples. This study discusses the role mass media play in the business of human security versus national security. It identifies espionage, propaganda, cultural imperialism, regulatory concerns, editorial manipulations, as well as the Internet as some of the threats that the mass media industry poses to national security. Terrorist groups including Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda use computerized gadgets, e-mails and encryptions to support their operations. It is therefore recommended that media professionals must always adhere to their codes of ethics to ensure that they carry out their responsibilities for the ultimate good of society; systems protection and adequate regulation should be given topmost priority by both government and non-governmental bodies; and that citizens should be made to be more aware of the dangers of cyber terrorism as it enables terrorists to operate with a decreased need for government protection. It is also recommended that security operatives should work with media practitioners as watchdogs of the society.


Mass media; Terrorism; National security; Information technology; Interdependence

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