Reporting on Peshmerga combat against ISIS, intel leaked on Social media

Kurdish-Peshmerga-002What constitutes as critical information in the battle against ISIS? It is information that can be used for the benefit of ISIS, and otherwise weaken Peshmerga forces, expose their vulnerabilities to both the public and the militants they are trying to fight.

At first, when I logged into my Twitter, there were floods of tweets about the advances Peshmerga forces were making — information such as commanders participating in the operation #FreeShingal were made public, the number of Peshmerga forces participating and other vital intel that should have been kept private.

Unfortunately the Kurdish media outlets have capitalised and exploited these events by having ‘live’ coverage nearby where the battle is taking place, making Kurds look incredibly inexperienced and weak.

Undoubtedly, psychological war is an important factor in weakening the war, and this can be done through media outlets. However, what we’re saying is a sea of information and rapid uploading of videos on Twitter that should not be taking place.

The battle has barely begun against ISIS in Shingal, and already information regarding various elements are available on Kurdish news sites, and on social media.

In the bid to outdo each other, Kurdish media outlets are fighting to provide the latest ‘key’ and ‘important’ information, but the fact that the combat was made public, and made known to media outlets is already troubling.

What is incredibly troubling, and extremely unnerving is the amount of information that the public can access regarding these battles. Surely, should they not be able to have sensitive intel, which ISIS could potentially use against Peshmerga forces.

Media outlets have magnified every move of Peshmerga forces, their advances or lack thereof are made public. This is starkly different to other militaries in the world, and their performance, where operations are kept private, and only made public upon results.

Since the start of ISIS reign, they have forged robust social media strategies to demoralise their opponents. Their heinous crimes are made largely private, and only known to the public upon their own discretion.

Information pertaining to Peshmerga forces should be available to the public in a limited form. We should not expect media agencies to have unfiltered access to the battles of Peshmerga because that puts the lives of soldiers at risk.

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