End of the Honeymoon: Why the relationship between media and counterterrorism agencies turned sour
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This paper sets out our exploratory research based on an analysis of four decades of Australian national security and counterterrorism policy from the dual perspectives of information sharing with industry and information sharing with the media. We comb a rich seam of complex and interrelated policy and through a series of in-depth elite interviews, analyse how and why information sharing (the need-to-know) with these two stakeholder groups developed and evolved in the way it did in practice. We find that a time when national security and counterterrorism policy was beginning to emerge in the 1970s, in practice the media was considered an essential part of counterterrorism efforts while industry was peripheral. This stands in sharp juxtaposition to contemporary policy and practice where the media is largely frozen out and industry is central to national security and counterterrorism efforts. We identify the shifts in policy and practice are explained through a maturing of policy driven by international and domestic incidents, the shift in ownership of critical infrastructure from the state to the private sector over time and a schism between policymakers and the media that opened in the 1980s and has never recovered. For the media, the honeymoon is over.
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