Media a powerful tool to counter terror: reforms panel

September 16th, 2008 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) The media in all its manifestations is a powerful tool for countering terrorism and the government should leverage this to its advantage, a reforms panel said Tuesday.”The potential of the media in spreading education and awareness needs to be tapped to build the capacity of citizens in dealing with any public disorder, particularly terrorism violence,” the Administrative Reforms Commission said in its eighth report titled Combating Terrorism.

“An informed and engaged media that is not restricted, manipulated or overly regulated can better appreciate the imperatives of the administration in its fight against terrorism.

“Thereby, the administration would also increase its preparedness and effectiveness in dealing with crises and develop more appropriate media-oriented responses,” the report added.

For this to happen, the commission said, “it would be necessary to have an affirmative media policy” based on:

* Transparency in governance,

* Easy access to information and sources,

* Advancing the media’s role as an instrument of vigilance to scrutinise and check administrative, legal and judicial violations that endanger civil and democratic rights in situations of conflict and terrorism.

* Engaging, enabling, encouraging and assisting the media to fulfil its role of informed, fair and balanced coverage of crises, particularly terrorism.

At the same time, the media “should be encouraged to evolve a self regulating code of conduct to ensure that publicity arising out of terrorist attacks does not help the terrorists in their anti-national designs”, the commission said.

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