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Breakfast Wednesday, 2 April, 2003, 05:06 GMT 06:06 UK
Truth and the war of words
The BBC's Paul Adams talking to a Tornado pilot in Doha
Does round the clock reporting give an accurate picture?
There's never been a conflict quite like the current war with Iraq.

TV news crews and newspaper journalists are covering the conflict in minute detail, as it happens, thanks to a decision to allow hundreds of journalists to be "embedded" with various military units.

But how - with so much information being thrown at us - how can we separate facts from propaganda?

  • In the Breakfast debate this morning (Wednesday) we discussed this with BBC's Kate Adie and the journalist and author Phillip Knightley and the BBC's Paul Adams in Qatar


    Journalists from media organisations all over the world have been assigned to the military including US and British warships, air bases in Kuwait and various infantry, artillery and commando units.

    They are known as 'embeds' and their unprecedented access has led to some graphic reports. But, by placing reporters alongside servicemen and women, is the military controlling what we see?

    There are also the specially groomed spokesmen - many of them generals, who are delivering regular press conferences from Central Command in Doha, Qatar.

    Phillip Knightley

    Is the author of The first casualty: The war correspondent as hero and myth maker from Crimea to Kosovo.

    author Philip Knightly
    He says the war reporter has an easy choice: become part of the military's propaganda machine or quit.

    Of course some journalists have been working independently in Iraq but they are at much greater risk - and their movements are often monitored by Iraqi authorities.

    During the Vietnam war, he says, the US military accepted war reporters - they even fed them, defended them and transported them.

    He claims that as a result the reporters went wherever they wanted - but ultimately lost the war for the US because of the nature of their reports.

    Kate Adie
    The BBC's Kate Adie during the Kosovo war
    The BBC's Kate Adie covered the Kosovo war

    As the BBC's Chief News Correspondent, Kate Adie spent much of her career reporting from the the front line.

    She covered the Gulf War in 1991 and conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Armenia, Albania, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

    Kate is of the opinion that propoganda isn't necessarily the same as lying, but is more about influencing opinions.

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