New Wars, New Media and New War Journalism

Professional and Legal Challenges in Conflict Reporting
Author(s): Stig A. Nohrstedt, Rune Ottosen

IN THIS BOOK, the authors discuss media coverage of major conflicts, from the Gulf War in 1990/91  to the NATO military operations in Libya in 2011 and the now ongoing civil war in Syria. Through in-depth analysis of Norwegian and Swedish media coverage of the Kosovo conflict in 1999, the Afghanistan War from 2001, the Iraq War from 2003 as well as more recent conflicts, the authors claim that legal issues are poorly covered in the running news coverage of major conflicts.
Underreporting of legal issues is especially problematic in relation to new forms of warfare involving extra-judicial killing by drones of targets in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. While historically Sweden and Norway have had different security policy orientations, the tendency is toward the two countries becoming more closely oriented through Nordic defense co-operation and participation in the wars in Afghanistan and Libya.
The authors criticize mainstream media for under-communicating what security risks this support for the regime change strategies pursued by the US/NATO in the so-called ‘global war on terror’ implies for the Nordic countries.
The book further discusses the challenges war and conflict reporting face when confronted with major security leaks through WikiLeaks and the classified information revealed by Edward Snowden. Theoretically, the findings are related to the theories of threat society, new wars and risk-transfer warfare as well as to Johan Galtung’s theory of war and peace journalism. Analyses are inspired by critical discourse analysis as elaborated in Norman Fairclough’s and Ruth Wodak’s works.



1. Introduction

2. Targeting Journalists and Media in the New World Order

3. Peace Journalism as a Strategy in the Threat Society?

4. Brothers in Arm or Peace? The Media Images of Norwegian and Swedish Defense and Military Co-operation

5. WikiLeaks. Ethical Minefield or a Democratic Revolution in Journalism

6. Media and International Law. Norwegian and Swedish Press Coverage of the Libyan War 2011

7. Drones and the Extrajudicial Killings in the War on Terror

8. Conclusions. Challenges and What to Do