Yester night I watched two interesting documentaries Tide of Terror and Samburu State of War on KTN and NTV respectively. Definitely a lot of time was put into these interesting productions but what I am not sure of is whether or not these productions added value to Kenya as a country. I know marketers are already planning to tell me about the target audience of the station, while the editorial team will certainly school me on the role of media in the society and how it mirrors what happens in our surroundings. The two schools of thought are right, but the extent to which they are correct is what I beg to differ with.
When the infamous invasion by the United States of America to Iraq started, we heard over and again that the war was going to be fought in two fronts; the battlefield and the minds of the people via propaganda. The good guy (read America) ensured they sustained an exaggerated and subjective communication strategy that warranted that the rest of the world supports them against the bad guys (Iraq). That’s how the war was legitimized.
Throughout the period, the US thrived on not very true communication to fuel the battle as they worked through the war torn country. Propaganda became one of the key weapons for the dreaded US army.
Anyway, why am I talking about war yet our country is only grappling with some little security threat from some disgruntled jobless youth... With the alleged terrorism related activities becoming rampant in our country, we have to fight back as a nation, not only with the security forces, but also with the society’s mouth piece i.e. Media houses. For once we must start ‘misreporting’ what our government is doing to curb this national threat. We have to let the government work without necessarily publicizing detailed reports of how the Eastleigh operation is going on.
Our journalistic instincts might push us to want to expose the porous borders and how money exchanges hands to own an Identity card. However, the mere fact that the terrorist might be watching these channels should be reason enough to make use of selective stories that reinforce the reasons and motivations for the government to act on this threats on the security of our nation.
Sorry to say this but I don’t see why we should not demonize the “enemy” and make whatever the government is doing, look right even when we falter .The negative image of the “enemy” should be continuously reinforced with rhetoric about the righteousness of our forces so that we can muster up support from all quarters and nurture the belief that what is being done is in the best interest of everyone.
When all this is done, we will rest assured that on the information perspective the enemy was beaten; after all we live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know about and shouldn't. Democracy only flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the media houses can decide whether or not to publicize what they know.