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Security News Desk Issue 24

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On 22 March as events were unfolding and before anyone was furnished with all of the facts, the incident on Westminster Bridge and within the Carriage Gates in the grounds of the palace of Westminster was declared a 'terror attack' that was 'Isis-inspired'. As might be expected, the so-called Islamic State group subsequently claimed responsibility. And that too was duly reported across the airwaves. BBC coverage rolled 24/7 with political editor Laura Kuenssberg reporting from the scene inside the locked-down Houses of Parliament. Speaking exclusively to Security News Desk, author and journalist, Nick Kochan, said: "e power to shock drives the modern terrorist. eir actions are about making an effect vastly greater than the size of their threat. e creation of fear suggests they have in the case of IS a whole state, when these are lone wolves acting with minimal resources or coordination. "e fact that the recent London outrage occurred in the sensitive environ of Westminster was calculated to have the press talking about the threat to British Democracy etc. So the British press fell neatly into their trap, piling hysteria upon hysteria, fear upon fear. ey are doing the terrorists' job for them to such an extent one asks whether there is more driving such a press than outrage at the level of violence and sympathy for the victims. Is calculated terrorist hyperbole indeed a distraction, or a part of the Brexit project?" Meanwhile, Channel 4 named a suspect - Abu Izzadeen, and then were forced to retract it upon learning that he was in prison. Across social media there was wild speculation too, with certain parties on Twitter naming that same party and others. is spread of misinformation could be seen as highly irresponsible, particularly when statements are made by journalists. e implications of spreading such falsities could have far-reaching and damaging consequences not only for the individual named but also the reputation of the journalism industry in general. James Brownsell, Managing Editor of e New Arab, and previously of Middle Eastern news outlet Al Jazeera, commented: "Jumping to conclusions serves no-one's interest. Speculation over motivations or identities simply has no place in responsible media coverage. Yes, journalists have a duty to report facts and to hold those in power to account – and when those in power are withholding facts, there is a duty to investigate further to establish the truth of a given matter. But in the immediate hours aer an attack, we have to give the authorities some leeway. Unless our news organisation possesses greater investigative capacity than the police and other security services, we can't, for example, publicly identify the perpetrator – especially without having done sufficient background checks to establish whether or not the person we're naming is already in prison." He added: "e pillars of democracy are built on institutional trust and accountability. e danger posed by the spread of misinformation is the undermining of that integrity and the breakdown of the social contract. Our readers must trust us to hold power to account. Every news organisation makes mistakes from time to time, but when media outlets knowingly publish falsehoods, they weaken the trust in which all news organisations should be held. When they do so to further political agendas, it's even worse. "When this trust is lost, it may never be retrievable. And when you can't trust anyone to establish facts, when one's own personal narrative is seen as paramount in the face of reality, then it is the end of any sort of age of enlightenment. It is the abandonment of the scientific method. It is the triumph of ignorance – and ignorance breeds hatred and violence." So what are the dangers posed by the spreading of falsities and how might they be mitigated in future? Seamus Dooley, acting NUJ general secretary, told us: "e NUJ has produced ethical guidance for journalists reporting on terrorism. We run a hotline that offers ethical advice, support and assistance to all NUJ members. "e union also has an ethical code of conduct, first established in 1936 and it is the only code for journalists written by journalists. ere is a danger that the term 'fake news' will become a lazy shorthand for views someone does not find acceptable or even minor inaccuracies. Ethical journalism complies with the NUJ code of conduct. By definition fake news, on whatever platform it is produced, is inconsistent with the code." Freddy Mayhew, News Editor at press industry trade paper, Press Gazette added: "e meaning of "Fake news" has been slightly adulterated and put to various different uses. e working definition that we use, and which I've heard from other journalists in the industry, is that fake news relates to a story that is entirely false – a lie or hoax – that has been published for propaganda or profit (and oen both). It is not news that you simply disagree with. "Anyone involved in the spread of fake news, as defined earlier, is not a journalist. News is about reporting the facts and trying to cut through the spin others might have placed on them. Sometimes facts are hard to get to and that's where the challenge lies and mistakes can occur. ere is always competition among newsrooms to be the first to a story and if not to find new angles in it that might have been passed over. I don't think the frenzy around an important news story – which the Westminster attack certainly was – has changed since the arrival of fake news." Hand Media is pleased to announce that Security Buyer, the 28-year-old international market leading media platform, has agreed to purchase Security News Desk, Security Middle East and the Security News Desk Newspaper from Security Media Publishing. ese international media platforms will retain their independence but now run under the Hand Media business umbrella. (www.hand-media.com) e powerful combination of the two brands will give contributors and advertisers a truly global platform, thanks to a combined print and online circulation of over 1.1 million readers/buyers/ potential customers. By combining two of the most powerful media and news brands within the security media industry, Hand Media will bring a new dimension to this exciting business sector and will deliver the very latest industry news, products and developments, backed up with video content – providing in-depth reader and customer insight and service. e new team will bring a level of expertise to the security media sector that is unparalleled internationally. Many of you will know of David Rossiter and Frank Kirk, both of whom have been involved in the security market sector for many years, and both of them bring a wealth of experience to the business. Commented MD and owner of Hand Media, David Rossiter: "Security News Desk Newspaper is at the forefront of insightful and informative feature-led news. "It is with great enthusiasm that I can confirm the acquisition of the publication from Security Media Publishing, which will allow us to bring our joint readership unparalleled industry knowledge." Security Media Publishing Director, Peter Mawson added: "the Security Media portfolio will integrate well within the Security Buyer platform, and we're looking forward to delivering news to an increased audience, whilst sharing feature-led content from the Security Buyer portfolio." Security Buyer acquires Security News Desk, Security Middle East and Security News Desk Newspaper Sensationalism, speculation and the spread of misinformation – A spotlight on the reporting of terror incidents In the wake of the terrible events that took place on 22 March, a few journalists and commentators questioned the mainstream media's coverage and asked whether the intense, and sometimes sensational, reporting might be detrimental and could even lead to further violence. Here, Security News Desk shines a light on this issue and looks at the spread of misinformation on social media and elsewhere. 2 News www.SecurityNewsDesk.com Issue sponsor Tel +44 (0)1269 833222 Email cctvsales@altron.co.uk S ee our website at w w w.altron.co.uk Find us in the most remote places M A N U F A C T U R E R O F C C T V P O L E S , C O L U M N S , T O W E R S & B R A C K E T S Altron AW1697 / ACT Cabinet-based Tiltdown Lattice Tower Windfarm ad - 150 h x 210 w_Layout 1 03/06/2016 13:08 Page 1 "Jumping to conclusions serves no-one's interest. Speculation over motivations or identities simply has no place in responsible media coverage" - James Brownsell, Managing Editor, The New Arab

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