In the Context of the ZPSP
Communication is central to how ZPSP operates, as arguably the most crucial risk prevention mechanism. The very existence of the programme depends on ZPSP making sure that perceptions don’t betray intentions. Communication is also about channels being opened that were closed or mute before. ZPSP has been carefully managing public exposure – to the detriment of their ability to claim credit for part of the tangible SST gains from some of its boundary partners.
Definition - Communication
While there is commonly a drive to ensure high visibility and work through social media (eg. Twitter, Youtube), it may also be strategic to avoid such an open communication approach. Security sector reform agenda is a delicate topic and the right communication approach is key. One has to consider if the state is ready for a fast track transformation.
The role of civil society should be to help in sharing information. Effective information sharing can help citizens better understand the roles and responsibilities of the security sector. Equally, civil society can facilitate dialogue between citizens and state security institutions. Without open communication, there can be misconceptions of intent, which in itself can contribute to mutual distrust and suspicion. From a civil society perspective, when working on difficult security sector reforms it is important to continually clearly communicate with partners in Government to ensure that they understand the intent of the civil society work and to ensure there are no misunderstandings. The methodology to communication should include considerations for the advantages of general debate as opposed to more localized focus groups, with the latter comparatively being able to address more technical and specific issues.
Input requested for SSR communications strategy, ISSAT, 2011