Media is now considered as the fourth pillar of the state in the modern era which helps the state to further its interests, objectives, and goals. It has a great role in national security. The media has become an important tool of statecraft. One would easily ascertain the jeopardies to the State if one of its pillars intentionally or otherwise has been misdirected.
If you consider the state as a house and, one day the residents of home hear the news that a neighbor is trying to encroach on their land. The residents would definitely react to this perceived notion. They would indeed seek such actions as would create a state of dispute or war-like situation with the neighbors. They would indeed seek such actions as would create a state of dispute or war-like situation with the neighbors. This insecurity will arise only because that specific targeted piece of news was meant to extract this result.
Associate Media Perception With National Security
The same is the case when we link the media’s perception and the National Security. If we analyze the past patterns of news and media perception in Pakistan, we have been bombarded with the news, articles, columns and other related stuff claiming that India – our neighbor, is an Islam hostile country.
This very targeted thing made Muslims fight against India. So the (Muslim freedom fighters) did this in the decades of the 1990s. As a result, our sovereignty went at stake. We fought a limited war at Kargil, we faced attacks on our borders. We faced the label of terrorism and much more threatening and deadly. This creates a great threat to national security.
If we look back to the time of the USSR invasion in Afganistan, it was the clever plan of international think tanks that made Pakistan think the way the USA and KSA wanted it to think. Warm water theory still is a pandora box that needs to be unveiled, but the perception it made at that time, is still affecting the security of Pakistan in one way or another.
Any bomb blast or terroristic activity in Afghanistan linked with Pakistan and the effect has made its roots to FATF. While its trickle-down effects in Pakistan, we can see in the form of a crackdown on religious leaders and scholars. It is ample proof that media perception affects internal as well as external security of any state.
However, various other international examples can be used to prove the point that Media perception and National security are interwoven. Yet I would like to add a point, that in controlled democracies state narratives often become media perception which makes people think the same way as the state thinks.
The case is different otherwise. Pakistan’s fragile relation with immediate neighbors i.e India and Afghanistan is a conspicuous example in this regard. However, the riots and protests of the USA’S people during the Vietnam war prove that the USA failed to make people believe in their theory of white man’s burden or theory of the spread of democracy.USA populace preferred human lives to war which proves the point.
From the above examples and illustrations, it asserts that the role of media perception in national security has now become a tool for creating falsified perceptions. That ultimately leads to insecurity for the state and its subject.