Reporting dissent in wartime: British press, the anti-war movement and the 2003 Iraq War

Craig Murray, Katy Parry, Piers Robinson, Peter Goddard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 2003 Iraq War was highly controversial in the UK, generating domestic opposition and a widely supported anti-war movement, the Stop the War Coalition. This article assesses the extent to which anti-war protesters were successful at securing positive coverage in the British press immediately before and during the invasion of Iraq. The study shows that, although anti-war protesters received more favourable than unfavourable coverage prior to the war, once the war got under way, a 'support our boys' consensus led to the narrowing of what Daniel Hallin has termed the 'sphere of legitimate controversy' with the anti-war movement relegated to a 'sphere of deviance'. The article also demonstrates that elite-led protest was more successful at influencing newspaper debate than grassroots protest. Overall, the results highlight the problems protest movements have in securing positive media representation during war. Copyright © 2008 SAGE Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-27
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • 2003 Iraq War
  • Media
  • Press
  • Protest
  • War


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