War reporting and the new war paradigm: a critical analysis of the UK military’s media operations policies

Al-Abri, Abdulnasser Ahmed Abdullah (2020) War reporting and the new war paradigm: a critical analysis of the UK military’s media operations policies. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3754675


The current military-media relationship, in which war reporters face greater challenges accessing operational zones, is marked by destabilisation. The key focus of this thesis is to describe the struggle of the military and the media in a British context, one that involves keeping up with the pace of massive developments in: (a) the nature of warfare, (b) the revolution in military affairs, and (c) information and communications technologies. I argue that the relationship between operational security, digitalisation, and moral obligations is vulnerable in today’s conflicts – considering those aspects of journalistic values which claim truthfulness and objectivity. Grounded theory is used to analyse qualitative semi-structured interviews and official documents by employing comparative methods and coding. Research questions are grouped into three themes outlining my key methodological arguments: (1) a revolution shown in military documents in the forms of new war; (2) the characteristics of war journalism in post-Iraq War; and (3) the impact that the digital revolution has had on the role of war reporters.

My findings illustrate some implications and recommendations for military policies and journalistic practices. In theory, the military’s media policy is aimed at securing journalistsʼ safety and operational security. However, in practice, the loss of autonomy, a lack of clear objectives, and editorial restraints have made journalistic work more complicated. The analytical framework utilised has identified two emergent themes: (1) the post-embedding era recognises the struggle of the military to incorporate the media into today’s conflicts because of the extent of violence in the ‘War Amongst the People’ (WAP); and, (2) the classic form of war reportage has become vulnerable to a new type of asymmetric threats as wars are often fought in a hybrid style. The latest typology of ‘new war’ has reinforced a sense of uncertainty and ambiguity in the process of war reportage, and information management, which can create instability pertaining to the role of the media in conflicts. In conclusion, the risk of uncontrollable and unmanageable media reportage can only be eliminated by the military if journalism becomes an integral part of the military’s command and control structure.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: The new war paradigm, war reporting, media operations, information, military doctrines.
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts
Supervisor's Name: Schlesinger, Prof. Philip and Boyle, Prof. Raymond
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: MR Abdulnasser Al Abri
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-78966
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2020 08:47
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2022 08:14
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.78966
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/78966

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