Is the media telling the truth about Iraq? Do you have an opinion on this issue? How does the nature, quality, and content of media coverage of the Iraq war ultimately impact the lives of people in Iraq, the Middle East and around the planet?
In your country, how does the media’s Iraq coverage rate? Fair and balanced? Biased? Which way? How about bloggers’ reporting and discussion of the issue? Have blogs helped clarify things or added to the confusion? We want to bring the opinions of the world’s bloggers on this issue directly into the debate. Please join us for a live discussion on Wednesday at 22:00–24:00 GMT (6–8pm EDT).
Here’s the plan: Reuters will be hosting a panel discussion which will be videocast and audio cast via this link: http://reuters.com/IraqNewsmakers.
Several members of the Global Voices community will be live-blogging the event: Middle East/North Africa Editor Haitham Sabbah, Iraq contributor Salam Adil, Iraqi-Australian blogger who now lives in the U.S., Fayrouz Hancock, Omar of Iraq the Model blogging from Baghdad, and Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar (who will be present in the room in New York).
Panelists in the room will include CBS’s Lara Logan, independent Iraqi photo journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Reuters’ Iraq Bureau Chief Alastair MacDonald, Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, Chief of Strategic Communication, Combined Arms Center, U.S. Army, and others.
We will have a live IRC chat which you can join (via the link above or on Freenode at #globalvoices. Read here for more instructions for getting on IRC, or you can use the client on the Reuters event site.). I will be present in the room as “IRC ambassador,” representing your questions and comments in the room and making sure that the panelists address as many as possible.
If you have views in advance, you can start sharing them now in several ways:
- Write a comment on this post.
- Write your views on your own blog and trackback to this post.
Feel free to tag your own posts that way too so we can find them easily and re-blog them for the world to see.
More links and background:
The ongoing debate about media coverage of Iraq has flared up again recently in the U.S. Last month Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz asked: Have the media declared war on the war? Others think the Bush Administration has declared war on the media. Lara Logan of CBS recently did an interview on CNN in which she responded to critics who think she and her fellow journalists covering Iraq are biased against U.S. efforts there. Her response angered supporters of the U.S. Iraq policy. (Click here to watch the video clip on YouTube.) The experience of kidnapped journalist Jill Caroll also highlights the risks journalists face in covering Iraq.
In the U.S., the right-wing thinks the U.S. media is biased against the war, and the left-wing thinks the U.S. media was too unthinkingly supportive of the war. There is a real question about whether the war would have happened or unfolded differently if the press had reported different facts. In 2003 a study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes found that an American person’s support for the war had a strong correlation to what media organizations they relied on for their news. After the war started, analysts point out that depending on whether you were American, European, or Middle Eastern, you got a very different view of the war through your media.
Some U.S. media organizations have concluded that their prewar coverage may not have been vigorous enough. The New York Times said in its mea culpa of May 2004: “we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been.” Such conclusions are unacceptable to those who think the Times was too biased against the war in the first place.
We’d really like to bring your opinions on these issues to a global audience beyond normal blog-readers through this online and offline forum. If you aren’t available to participate in the live online discussion on Wednesday, don’t worry. The Reuters web team will archive the video and make shorter highlights and quotes available as well. We’re also hoping to have a transcript of the IRC discussion. We will summarize, quote, and link to your reactions and opinions here on Global Voices in the days following the event. We’re looking forward to some lively comments threads and trackbacks!
FINAL NOTE: Global Voices participation in this Reuters’ Iraq Newsmaker event is an experiment in figuring out how to create positive interaction between mainstream media and bloggers – with the goal of bringing voices from citizens’ media to a wider audience. For more information about our relationship with Reuters, please see our FAQ.