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Media demands security agencies to give 2 weeks advance notice before every covert military operation

12, Jun 2015 By Pagla Ghoda

New Delhi: Consortium Of News-Channels (CONS) an independent media body comprising of some of the major news channels in the country has warned security agencies against not notifying the media well in advance before performing the confidential covert military operations in other countries.

This warning was issued after Indian armed forces were able to do a sudden but highly successful surgical strike in Myanmar earlier this week, without keeping media informed about it.

Demanding more transparency in military affairs, CONS has mandated at least a 2 weeks prior notice from security agencies or major news channels won’t report the military operation at all when it happens. Senior CONS spokeswomen Supriya Bhrusht posted the following tweets on her twitter account in this regard.

Media wants name, address, ages, mobile numbers, and twitter handles of every soldier involved
Media wants name, address, ages, mobile numbers, and twitter handles of every soldier involved

“Defence minister should understand that Media is the 4th pillar of democracy, perhaps 5th. Whatever it is, IT IS an important pillar. (1/4)”

“If we are not informed well in advance how can we alert all the parties involved (2/4)” [This tweet was deleted within 2 mins]

“If we are not informed well in advance how can we alert all the reporters who would be covering it. Lot of prep has to be done. (2/4)”

“Going forward all media channels should be informed atleast 2 weeks in advance via email and in person. (3/4)”

“If that does not happen we will not broadcast the covert operation at all, when it finally happens. (4/4)”

While defense minister himself has not commented on the whole issue as yet, a few political experts have actually advocated for more transparency and keeping media in loop at each step of all the highly confidential military operations.

Senior media expert Jagdeesh Barjatiya came out strongly in support of news channel community and said, “Security agencies should understand that we media people need to align our resources very well prior to such sensational operations. We need to set up cameras and mics at right locations, our celebrity anchors need to rehearse their key phrases, we need to give a ball by ball information of the covert military operation to our viewers to keep them engaged. That is the true level of transparency we can give to our viewers, some of whom are people of our country, to which we are answerable.”

“Hence I would suggest security agencies to include media representatives right from the start, that is the very first strategy meetings where initial planning is done. So that we can advise you on some key aspects such as which direction you should be looking in while you fire at your enemy, so that your face is captured clearly in the cameras. Or how close to the mic you should position yourself so that your war cry is clearly captured. We would also advise you on battle-ground lighting and makeup which are very important attributes of war-reporting. Security agencies for sure need our expert guidance on these critical issues.”