Media as part of the mission

The need of a well trained Press- and Information officer increases in a military mission. SWEDINT has just conducted another IntPIO-course.

Photo: Försvarsmakten/Katja Öberg

SWEDINT has arranged the IntPIO, International Press- and InformationOfficer-course since 2002. The aim is to train and prepare students for assignments as a pressofficer in a multinational environment. They are for example trained in media relations, some staff methodics, and what to do in a crisis.
- There is definitely a need for this course. Not only among PIO:s, but also among commanders and military officers. Everybody has to be trained, Görgen Karlehav, course director, says.

During the last couple of years the environment and spread of news has dramatically changed.
-There is no local news anymore, it is global, Hans Vedholm, an experiences PIO and one of the course instructors, says.
It means that a story from Afghanistan is soon reporter all over the world. And when people hear about it, it can impact the outcome of the operation, the security situation, or attitude towards the military unit in the area. Sweden has pointed out media as an own arena, beside land, air and maritime, where the mission is being conducted.

- The difference between success and failure of an operation can often land upon media and how you deal with it, Knut Grandhagen, another instructor with experience from Afghanistan says.

This week, in the middle of August, 20 people from all over the world have learned more about the role as a PIO. They are both civilians and military, some of them more experienced in working with media than others. The course gives a good opportunity to discuss, listen and learn from others. That is when you learn the most.
- It is not only about the different experience. It is not the least about their background. It is a multinational environment and you get a global perspective. There are so many different ways to deal with these issues, there are no right or wrong says Görgen Karlehav.