Don't Mention the War: The Australian Defence Force, the Media and the Afghan Conflict
1 Jan 2013
Monash University Publishing
This book examines Australian media coverage of the war in Afghanistan. Kevin Foster demonstrates how the military's public affairs personnel have taken over many of the roles traditionally performed by reporters, and shows the restrictive effect of this on media coverage. This tight media management is contrasted with the more open approach of Dutch and Canadian militaries in Afghanistan, a fact Foster explains through reference to the different positions of the military within these different nations. As opposed to the Dutch and the Canadians, who had reputations to rebuild, the almost uniquely exalted position of the military in Australia has enabled and driven a media strategy tailored to defend the Australian military's high social standing. In Australian media coverage, Foster goes on to argue, the war in Afghanistan has then functioned as another platform for the celebration of national military virtues. What has been offered is less a representation of action than an affirmation of identity, less a chronicle of unfolding events than a testament to immutable character.