The Falklands War of 1982 was alleged to be the worst reported warfare after the Crimean War, as the war reporting went back to the pre mass communication era. No reports or news came from the front line due to the strict censure of news by the British Government of that time (The Falklands Conflict Technologies).
While the British forces defeated the Argentineans, the Government blocked every news and report leaving the media to grope in the dark. Reports were either delayed or censored and most of them were held back, which forced the Press Association to place a preface to its bulletins with rider indicating that the news was totally censored.
That was why Dr. Johnson, wrote: “It is wonderful with what coolness and indifference the greater part of mankind see war commenced. Those that hear of it at a distance, or read of it in books, but have never presented its evils to their minds; consider it as little more than a splendid game” (Barnes, 2002). The Falklands war was the brain child of Margaret Thatcher which gulped 2 million pounds of the tax payers.
Ironically, it was for the British military to learn the lesson that the best way to get stories lay in the way how they restricted the movement of the journalists. The Americans were thrilled to see the developments in Falklands War, and so, they speeded up reorganizing news management by curtailing the movement of the journalists.
To make news, the journalists should move, and when they could not move how then they could make the news, remarked Greg Philo (Barnes, 2002), who was a professor in media studies at Glasgow University. Even the BBC was stamped unpatriotic. However, toward the end of the war, the government was cornered by the people questioning the way they handled the country’s information policy.
The Falkland war stories they put were totally false and misleading to hoodwink the Argentineans. But the BBC considered itself unbiased and adhered to professionalism stating it their credibility would be at stake and proceeded with the news though under pressure and heavy censoring (Tales from the Tabloid).
Only a few papers like Independent and the Guardian having credibility and honesty to the core, broke away the screening of war episodes sternly and went forward with the news coverage, though they were hampered because of the inaccessibility to the information on the real fighting (Shaw & Carr-Hill, 1991).
Throwing light into the civil rights violations of British army, the book ‘War in the Falklands’ published by Harper & Row, 1982 states that in the human rights organizations’ view, around 18000 Argentineans have disappeared including school children and that another 100 journalists and 200 scientists were also not to be found (Friedman, 2007).
Major Peter Vaughan Barnett defended the military strategy and censorship during the Falklands War by stating that it was only an allocation of forces within a war field to achieve certain policy goals (Barnett, 2000). The censorship was so strict that the BBC reporter Brian Hanrahan was forced to adopt the legendary reporting that penetrated the censure itself.
Referring to the British jet planes that continued raids on Falklands war front, he reported, “I counted them all out and I counted them all back.“ He was not allowed by the government to broadcast the news item regarding the number of planes participated in the air raid. His reporting proved the standard of reporting even under restrictions and pressure.
Recalling his experiences during the Falklands war, Hanrahan stated that they were at peril at the hands of Argentineans and that he was uncertain of the impact when they were back home with the news. During that time only a limited number of people were engaged in reporting (Inside Story).
The novelist Julian Barnes of Guardian gives a detailed account of how the Ministry of Defence tried to swirl away the British Media. The Falklands war created an image free period of 74 days during which no pictures were allowed to be sent through.
Photographers were not permitted to take photographs and were not given accreditation. There was only radio vision and no pictures were shown and during the field attack there were no images at all and whatever they could catch were monitored (Barnes, 2002).
Barnes, J., The worst reported war since the Crimean, The Guardian, 2002. Web.
Barnett, P. V., British Strategy in the Falklands War, 2000. Web.
Friedman, H. A. (2007) Psyop of the Falklands Islands War, 2007. Web.
Inside Story: What covering the Falklands meant for leading veterans of the media corps, 2 April 2007. Web.
Shaw, M. & Carr-Hill, R., Mass Media and Attitudes to the Gulf war in Britain. EJC/REC Vol. 2, No. 1, University of Hull, 1991. Web.
Tales from the Tabloid, Socialist Review, Issue 259, 2002. Web.
The Falklands Conflict Technologies, Media and War. Web.