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Conference launches Iraq war media study

27 Jan 2011

A new book on British media coverage of the Iraq invasion is to be launched at a one-day international conference on ‘Communicating War in the Media and Arts’ in Liverpool.

Keynote speaker Dr Piers Robinson, from The University of Manchester, will open the day’s discussions by addressing ‘future directions’ in the research of media and war.

Dr Robinson is primary author of ‘Pockets of Resistance’, along with a University of Liverpool research team, Mr Peter Goddard, Dr Katy Parry and Dr Craig Murray, and University of Leeds contributor, Professor Philip M. Taylor.

‘Pockets of Resistance: British news media, war and theory in the 2003 invasion of Iraq’, was based on a research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The study surveyed the principal news programmes of BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky and seven national newspapers from the period of the Iraq invasion (March-April 2003) using detailed content analysis, case studies and interviews with journalists.

Project leader, Dr Robinson, said: “Although we found examples of media independence, journalists need to think more critically about the extent to which they allow the national perspective of 'our boys' to influence their war reporting.

“We also urge them to be more discerning when accepting official versions such as the humanitarian intervention line promoted by Tony Blair during the 2003 invasion of Iraq”.

The launch will follow a day of conference presentations covering research concerns about the communication of war from diverse disciplinary perspectives, including visual culture, war and security studies, journalism, political geography, media and communication, international relations and literature.

Dr Katia Balabanova and Dr Katy Parry, from the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool are co-organisers

Dr Parry said: “We were very intent on encouraging dialogue across subjects that can suffer from a lack of integration and cross-reading.

“We believe that our understandings about the mediation of war can be further enriched when perspectives from arts, humanities and social sciences are brought together in this way”.

The conference is being held at the Liverpool Medical Institution, on 28 January 2011, with the day’s programme starting at 9am. The book launch and wine reception will follow, at 5.30pm.