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War And The Media: Coverage of a war in Iraq - 2003-03-17

If there’s a war in Iraq, it will be up to the international media to tell the story of what’s happening on the ground. Hundreds of reporters have been assigned to US military units, while many others are stationed in Baghdad.

The Institute for War and Peace Reporting is closely following media coverage. The London-based group says it trains journalists and supports “peace, democracy and development in countries undergoing crisis and change.” Tony Borden is with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. He spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about how media coverage of a war with Iraq will differ from the last Gulf War.

He says if there is another war, there will be many more journalists covering the combat and they will have much more sophisticated equipment. Many he says will be “embedded” with the allied military units, meaning they may get a “front row seat” to the action. But he also says they will probably be able to cover only one military unit and will be in great danger and subject to the control of the military.

Mr. Borden expects the classic battle between media and military over what can be covered. He also says many journalists have remained in Baghdad, hoping to be at the heart of the action. However, he says, they too, are at risk, not only from attacks on the city, but from the Iraqi government, itself, which could “use them as human shields.”

Click above links to download or listen to De Capua interview on media coverage of Iraq.