US media 'self-censored' coverage of Iraq

Many media outlets self-censored their reporting on the Iraq invasion because of concerns about public reaction to graphic images and content, according to a survey of more than 200 journalists by American University's School of Communications.

The study, released 19 March, also determined that "vigorous discussions" about what and where to publish information and images were conducted at media outlets and, in many cases, journalists posted material online that did not make it to print. Editor & Publisher magazine reported that American University professors MJ Bear and Jane Hall conducted the survey of 210 journalists from the United States and other countries, who completed the anonymous, online questionnaire in September and October 2004. Some 42% of those polled said they were discouraged from showing photographic images of dead Americans, while 17% said they were prohibited. Journalists were also discouraged from showing pictures of hostages, according to 36% of respondents, while only 3% reported being prohibited from showing them. Nearly one-third of news outlets used their Web sites to disseminate materials that were not first published or broadcast elsewhere by the organization, the survey said.

related coverage:
Editor & Publisher report.
American University online. resource on Iraq war coverage.

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