Compare And Contrast The Way T

3223 words - 13 pages

Compare and Contrast the way in which the media has handled the Falklands War and the Gulf War.

"You can win the battle but lose the war if you don't handle the story right." General Colin Powell in a speech to the National Defence University, 1990.

Both the Gulf War and the Falklands War were extremely different not only in how they were fought but also how the media covered them. In this paper there will be an examination of how the media performed with particular reference to the British Media in the Falkland's and the American Media in the Gulf.

It is widely accepted that relations between the military and the media suffer from friction and at wartime this even more true. This it has been argued is due to the fundamental differences between the military and the media. The media sees publicity as the way to its success, whereas for the military secrecy is essential to the success of its operations. For the military information and the control of it is seen as a weapon (1). The British media suffered several problems in covering the Falklands. First of all there was the location of the islands. Being 8,000 miles away from the United Kingdom and more than 400 miles away from the nearest landmass and also being subject to a total exclusion zone the Ministry of Defence had the sole say in how many if any correspondents it would let sail with the task force. The MoD only accepted British correspondents and it has been argued that those that were accepted were vetted. In the end the MoD accredited less than thirty correspondents, which is a minuscule number when compared to the number that were present in the Gulf War. All the correspondents had to agree to censorship by the MoD at source (2). This censorship was made even more painful when the correspondents learned that no such censure would apply to stories written in Britain (3). This served to heighten tensions between the media and the military and showed that there was a mutual distrust between the two. The media reliance on the military was, as mentioned above, due to not only the location of the Islands but also due to the terrain and climate which made unsuitable for independent media operations, unlike the Gulf War.

Another problem faced by correspondents travelling with the task force was the difficulty involved in sending their reports back to the United Kingdom. Due to the difficulty in sending these reports the only effective way of transmission was controlled by the military. There was no provision made for live TV coverage and all video footage had to be flown back to the United Kingdom where it was first examined by military censors who would cut out any unsuitable material. Due to the length of time involved it was...

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