Spin was biggest risk for Government over Kosovo

IPR Conference: Media manipulation risked undermining the government’s ethical stance during the Kosovo conflict, said Ian Hargreaves, professor of journalism at Cardiff University, last week.

IPR Conference: Media manipulation risked undermining the

government’s ethical stance during the Kosovo conflict, said Ian

Hargreaves, professor of journalism at Cardiff University, last

week.



Speaking at the IPR’s conference in Birmingham, Hargreaves, a former

editor of the New Statesman and the Independent, said: ’Ethical foreign

policy means ethical media management. Spinning is a value negative,

it’s only any good if you don’t get caught.’



However, Hargreaves recognised the need for intervention by the Prime

Minister’s press secretary, Alastair Campbell, when the media criticised

NATO after the bombing of a refugee convoy.



After the bombing, Campbell was despatched to NATO headquarters to

organise reinforcements of the organisation’s press team and improve the

quality of its daily press conferences.



’The media is critical - the war could not have happened if the media

had not been in support of it broadly. Alastair Campbell was right to

intervene, whatever the nature of the methods used. We saw a master at

work on that.’



Hargreaves predicted that news management would become even more

difficult in future. He predicted that web TV would be in use by the

next major conflict.



He said: ’What Kosovo shows most significantly is that the new media

means that it is even more true that there is nowhere to hide.’



He said wider availability of information would force organisations to

be more open. ’The new media offer the people on the PR side of the

fence a fantastic opportunity to examine the corporate situation and to

decide what reason there can be for not making information available.’



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