Advances effective media relations for national security The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that Nigeria’s Cyber security systems has improved tremendously in line with the realities of time. This is coming against the backdrop of increasing rate of attacks and undeclared cyber warfare between various states and non-state actors across the world. The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. John Enenche, disclosed this on Thursday at the 2017 Defence Correspondents Seminar in Abuja. He said that Nigerian defence, intelligence and security agencies are doing a lot behind the scene in the area of cyber security, which he said would be unveiled soon. He said: “We are doing a lot in cyber security. This has gone beyond holding seminars. We have trained people that are very knowledgeable in that aspect. “We are assuring you in not too distant time, it will be made public because the new battlefield is in the cyber space.” On the seminar, Enenche said it was to ensure that the Defence Correspondents are adequately prepared to function creditably for national security. According to him, the “seminar has been packaged to produce the focus for year 2017, based on the anticipation of outlook of events for the year, with the theme: ‘Professional Information Management a Panacea for Improved National Security”. In the same vein, the Chief of Defence staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, assured that the DHQ will leverage on the existing cordial relationship between the media and the military, “having in mind the critical role media plays on military operations”. “It is worthy of note that due to our continuous drive to maintain an open door policy, media organisations have always been granted permission and provided armed escorts to our theatres of operation. Likewise, some Non-Governmental organisations and Civil Society Organisations were facilitated to perform their duties at different locations of the mission areas nationwide”. Olonisakin who was represented by the Chief of Civil-Military Relations, Rear Admiral Jonathan Ango, appealed to Defence appealed to Defence Correspondents to exercise restraint while reporting on issues that have serious security implications. Also speaking, the Director-General Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, called for closer collaboration between the security officials, especially the information managers and journalists to advance national security . Okechukwu also called on the Defence authorities and other heads of security agencies to respond to enquiries, confirmations that come by the way of phone calls, text and WhatsApp messages among others. He said: “An aggressive posture on the side of top managers of information either in military circles, police or other agencies does not help at all. Some information managers can become too aggressive thinking it is the best way to put the journalist off. “And to journalists, there is the seeming competition between the new media and traditional as to who breaks the news first. They may not wait for confirmation of stories. There could be elements of falsehood and it is already in the public domain causing anxiety.” “Fellow journalists, sentimental reporting will not help. To enlighten tension or write or pass information that will harm society is not good information management.” According to Okechukwu, “to portray insurgency as heroes at the expense of the Nigerian military is not proper and professional information management and will not improve national security.” He said “it is out of place to ridicule members of the armed forces, their operations revealing operation plans in the name of scoops and breaking news”. The former Defence Spokesperson, Maj-Gen. Chris Okukolade (rtd) moderated the discussion.