Role of Media in Security Sector Governance and Reform

21/09/2017 @ 12:15
by Iman Simon

The media plays a key role in both overseeing state activities as well as communicating initiatives and reforms. However at times this relationship can stray.
I am specifically looking for concrete examples and cases where the media and state have collaborated, or improved their working relationships, in order to better inform and communicate ssg initiatives to the wider public. Can anyone draw from concrete initiatives like development of communication strategies, joint trainings etc.?

Grateful for any key resources, references and tools on the topic.

Thank you for your input!

21/09/2017 @ 13:47
by Valentin Wagee

Hello Iman, 

You might want to take a look at a great read from USAID I used when I was working on Libya:

However, the focus on partisanship might make it too specific in your case. Hope this helps!

Best regards, 


22/09/2017 @ 12:23
by Cornelia-Adriana Baciu

Hi Imam,

Perhaps these two studies might be relevant for consideration:  (Palestine)

Preliminary findings of my doctoral research suggest that CSOs, in particular those operating at high-level (Track 1.5 or 2), play an active role in engaging media for disseminating information related to SSR and SSG to the general public.



04/10/2017 @ 16:55
by Thammy Evans

Dear All,

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions so far. I note that the DCAF Media and SSR tool links don't all work, with the one to Tool 2: Media and SSG being the most relevant, so I have uploaded it here.

The important role of a free media as an oversight mechanism is now quite well established. However, I think two crucial elements of this role have yet to be well understood, namely:

  1. the responsibility the media has to accurately report balanced facts and the role it therefore plays in educating the public on security sector issues, implying therefore that the media itself has an obligation to understand the security sector properly. This is the role of a security editor, which many media outlets don't even have.
  2. the responsibility of security providers to understand the important role of communications on their area, and therefore to play a constructive role in educating the media and via them the public on issue of importance to the security of citizens.

Many security actors know little how to help accurately inform the media through less adversarial measures such as a news briefing, editorial board, or media advisory. This is not helped by the fact that in many countries where information on security was taboo, even major news outlets do not have a security editors, such as the likes of Matthew Symonds (Economist), Rohit Kachroo (ITV News), Tom Whitehead (Telegraph) - (BTW can anyone find a female security editor?)

Scotland Police has released their Communications and Engagement Strategy in 2015, and this is an excellent example of how a security actor can constructively and openly engage with the media and other oversight actors, including via internal as well as external communications.

For those security actors who struggle with how to deal with the media, some guidance is available online, such as the EU's Central Europe Programme Communications Guidebook (2009), or UNESCO's Media Relations guidance. But neither of these are as specific to the security sector. 

I for one would certainly welcome seeing more suggestions here of positive case studies, and any templates on media relations strategies that could be used by security professionals.

ENG_Media_Tool2.pdf (3,6 MB)