National security is a basic requirement of any responsible government throughout the world. Hence, it includes national development, as well as political, economic and social cohesion. It also deals with all measures taken to ensure and guarantee the safety of a nation and it’s citizens. These include the protection of individuals, groups. Communities, properties, defence of the country’s territorial integrity against external aggression, subversion, espionage and sabotage to mention but a few.
From the foregoing, it has become obsolete to measure national security in terms of military activities alone. It involves the entire fabric of society including responsible journalism that promote the image of the nation abroad. Thus, for a meaningful network of national security, every citizen including the media are required to use their knowledge, skill and every aspect of national life. For the development of the nation. It’s also important for the government itself to ensure good economic, industrial and development policies that are well structured and protected. It must be able to maintain and sustain an efficient and stable economy with adequate industrial and agricultural base. Thus, national security includes the reflection of a country’s national character and the defence of the national interest for the benefit of all citizens, and the media could pay a major role in drive. This is very important because while other nations pay heavily to acquire information, sections of the African media have been engrossed in providing secret information which has adverse effect on Africa’s image free of charge.
The Geogia Economic Developers Association defines ecomic development as sustainable process of creating economic opportunity for all citizens, stimulating business investment, diversifying the public revenue base and enhancing quality of life. According to the US department of commerce, it is fundamentally about enhancing the factors of productive capacity of national economy. It is also about encing growth, increase in competitiveness, sustainable development, reduction of poverty and inequality, as well as increasing wages, benefits and industrial policy. One of the key areas associated with media contribution to economic development is business and investment environment.
For an economy to grow, it requires the enabling environment atmosphere for healthy trade, and foster business climate of information is available to potential investors. Other aspects include global and foreign media report, and international trade. The media can however make or mar the enabling environment. This is true of the media in Nigeria generally.
Publications on threats to national security environment such as wars, civil unrest, epidemics, violent crimes, corruption and so on are known to have scared away investors. The consequence could be capital flight, disinvestment and decline in production and services. Freedom of expression as fundamental right must go with corresponding media responsibility. Agreed that the media are committed to have a story right,they are also in business to sell. It is therefore necessary to balance both by taking cognisance of nation and it’s economy.
Thus, the effects of the media in a society are not in doubt as “there can be no security without prosperity”. In Nigeria, political and social-economic problems have severe implications on national security. By the year 2050, the project base on ecomic growth and agricultural resources indicate a world population of 10 billion as against the current 4.5 billion people. It is believed that when this happens with heightened poverty and hunger, media reporting would influence public policy by alerting the world toinjustice and human sufferings.
The media can reduce the effects of cyclones, floods and similar catastrophes in the world such as the florida hurricane warning of 2004 and the recent one in the USA. They can also assist the victims by alerting the world toprovide aids. Such other natural disasters include earthquakes, while technological ones include plane crash, oil spillage,nuclear reactor failurs and explosions such as the chernobyl incidence of 1986. The media can sensitise government programmes on HIV/AIDS campaigns, corruption and communal conflicts. They can also assist in post-conflict reconstruction of domestic institutions, exaggeration and outright distortion of facts which are inimical to national security and economic development. They practice political partisanship, bias, ethnicism and religious insensitivity which escalate conflicts detention wthout trials was promulgated by the military to checkmate journalists, irabor and tuunde Thompson were subsequently jailed before its abrogation. And pornography is another threat to national security.
Therefore, the government and the council of media practitioners are expected to evolve legal and ehical strategies to ensure mutual protection of the national security environment that could boost Nigeria’s ecomic development through positive media coverage of Nigeria’s image that could attract foreign investors.