TV series will look at reporting of Iraq war

Journalists reporting on the war in Iraq will themselves come under scrutiny in a three-part, three-hour documentary series being filmed for Discovery Channel Europe.

Featuring BBC and Sky News journalists, the programme is due to be broadcast in the autumn.

Executive producer Brian Woods at True Vision Productions said the programme would look at what happened within the media over the past four weeks “and how that is the latest expression of how war is reported in the past 200 years”.

The first programme, called Truth or Dare, will focus on the battle between the military and the media to control the news. It will look at the different agendas between the military and the media – also those within the media and how stories are censored by the editors and proprietors – and how these agendas “influence the truth”.

“It will look at black, white and grey propaganda, particularly grey propaganda – the stuff you try to get out with the intention of attributing it to the other side – and how this is steered in a way that it sounds like an independent source,” Woods said.

Programme two, Big Boys’ Toys, will look at how technology has influenced news, particularly with miniaturisation of cameras and the introduction of night vision and satellite phones. “The miniaturisation of video cameras allowed us to see images that have never been seen before. Former Special Forces personnel have now got into the media with their Hi-8 cameras and get around normal restrictions to get footage which allies didn’t want shown.”

Programme three looks at the job of the war journalist and the attendant risks and dangers, including the issue of embedding.

“Journalists really have a strong sense of how that influenced their journalism. There were a total of 4,500 journalists out in the Gulf – and quite a lot got kicked out by the US. What’s the story behind that? “This was an extremely risky war, because of its location and how it was fought. Sixty-five journalists were killed in Vietnam over the whole period. In the second Gulf War you had 13 journalists killed in 26 days. If it had lasted for the same amount of time as Vietnam, then pro rata 4,500 would have been killed, which is the same number of journalists deployed in the first place.” Woods and True Vision won best television documentary at the Amnesty International Media Awards in 2002, for the BBC One film Kids Behind Bars.

They also produced Dying for Drugs, which airs on Channel 4 this week.

lThe funeral of ITV News journalist Terry Lloyd will be held at 12.30pm on Friday, 25 April, at the parish church in his home village of Cuddington, Buckinghamshire. The funeral will be a small gathering of close friends and family.

PA will provide a pool reporter for the occasion, a spokeswoman said. ITN will consult the family over its plans to hold a memorial service later on in the year.

By Wale Azeez

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