Media, mediation and the war in Iraq: from broken to non-existent mirrors

Marietjie Myburg


Media theory, says McQuail (2005:5) is an effort to ‘make sense of observed reality’.
The ‘observed reality’ of war is layered with themes of power, politics and culture on several levels. There is the journalist on the beat; the news institution he or she works for; the soldiers or armies involved in the conflict; the governments these armies represent and finally there are the media users on both sides of the conflict – that is if there are only two sides. In this sense war represents a highly concentrated or condensed version of everyday reality which forms the framework for media connecting with society.
This report will take the case of the war in Iraq as an example of how the media’s role to ‘sustain a shared sense of social order’ (Allan, 2004:8) and to connect us ‘to other experience’ (McQuail, 2005:83) have been compromised by political, ideological and, on the side of the global media networks, economic agendas.

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