- Media: refers to all media, independent or not, official or unofficial, news outlets, individual journalists, and informed citizens on social media.
- Mediascape: the abstract landscape composed by all information and communication platforms and the information flows they carry.
Media can facilitate the governance of security institutions through investigative journalism and by providing platforms for information-sharing and discussions on security issues that all stakeholders can access.
By investigating and reporting on abuses within the security and justice institutions, media organisations can help expose failures in transparency and accountability mechanisms, management and governance systems.
Print and electronic media can also reflect the monitoring activities of civil society organisations on security institutions, report on the level of public security provision, and play a role in supporting integrity by acting as a guardian against corruption through investigative journalism and publicising corruption cases and abuse of power.
Media play a key role in conveying the interests and demands of civil society groups to policy-makers, to other parts of civil society, and to international audiences. Investigative journalists and those who specialise in the area of the security sector can act as an oversight mechanism and influence public debate.
Where press is genuinely free to operate and disseminate news without interference, it is the main means by which the population is informed about the actions of the government. The press enables the electorate to be informed and educated, thereby ensuring the accountability of politicians, government and businesses.
It is essential that there is a variety of independent news outlets in free and fair competition as opposed to a mediascape monopolised by a few or a single big news agency. There must be legal provisions that protect whistle-blowers and other journalistic sources and rules that prevent journalists from being forced to reveal their sources of information, as well as, effective legislation for freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of information.
Media have an important role to play when it comes to drawing public interest to Security Sector Governance issues that are usually complex and not necessarily of popular interest, by acting as an interpreter and simply describing the issues in order to make them understandable at individual, national and international levels. That is, outlining the consequences of a given decision for the individuals in terms of their day to day lives and connecting them to the global picture.
Although the primary responsibility for oversight and control of the security sector lies with state institutions such as the parliament, executive, and judiciary, the media perform a crucial role in scrutinising government power and holding it accountable.
Given the significance of the news media to public debate and governance, and in view of the dramatic changes occurring within the mediascape, it is more vital than ever to develop the media literacy of citizens in democratic and democratising states.
The capacity of citizens to engage in democratic dialogue, demand responsive and accountable governance, in security and justice as in other areas of public interest is closely linked to the ability of democratic states to maintain the health and integrity of journalism.
Requirements for an active and credible media:
- Precise and effective legislation on freedom of speech, press, and information. As well as, whistle-blower and journalistic sources protection.
- Effective implementation of legislation.
- Integrity and independence of the media.
- Clear legal provisions on dissemination of official information and state secrets.
- State secrecy has to remain within reason. Transparency must be the rule and secrecy the exception.
- An efficient system dealing with public information requests.
- Qualified journalists.
- Multiplicity of media outlets in free and fair competition.
- Efforts to make citizens more media-literate.
DCAF- UNDP 2008, Public Oversight of the Security Sector. A Handbook for Civil Society Organisations.
DCAF (2008), Gender SSR Toolkit, Practical Note 9
Duncan Hiscock, “The Role of Civil Society in Security Sector Governance in the South Caucasus”. Working Paper. Austrian National Defence Academy.
Marina Caparini, “Civil Society and Democratic Oversight of the Security Sector: A Preliminary Investigation” Working Paper No 132. DCAF 2004.
Marina Caparini, Philipp Fluri, Ferenc Molnar (Eds.), Civil Society and the Security Sector. Concepts and Practices in New Democracies. DCAF 2006.
Marina Caparini, News Media and Security Sector Reform. Reporters on Telling the Story. DCAF 2010.
TI (2015) Open Governance in Ukraine: how is it done in Practice? Anastasia Krasnosilska, Ukrainian Independent Center for Political Research (UCIPR)
 Marina Caparini, “Civil Society and Democratic Oversight of the Security Sector: A Preliminary Investigation” Working Paper No 132. DCAF 2004
 Marina Caparini, Philipp Fluri, Ferenc Molnar (Eds.) Civil Society and the Security Sector. Concepts and Practices in New Democracies. DCAF 2006.