Military Operations and Media Coverage

The Interplay of Law and Legitimacy

Authored by: Laurie R. Blank

Routledge Handbook of Military Ethics

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415743686
eBook ISBN: 9781315813516
Adobe ISBN: 9781317801771


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On November 14, 1854, William Howard Russell filed the first war report from the front lines of conflict, an account of the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War of 1854–1856. 1 Filed by telegraph, Russell’s dispatches “brought the war home to readers . . . [writing] with clarity and vitality about the grandeur and the horror of battle.” 2 Over a century and a half later, media coverage of military operations not only informs the public about the events of conflicts near and far, but also plays a significant role in the determinations and perceptions of the success, legitimacy, and lawfulness of military operations. Understanding this interplay between media coverage, demands for information and transparency, law, and legitimacy is therefore essential to any training for and implementation of military interaction with the media, as well as to the planning and execution of successful military operations.

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