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The Embedding Apparatus

Media Surveillance during the Iraq War


Aimé-Jules Bizimana

When the war in Iraq began in 2003, the issue of the special status accorded to journalists covering the military operations arose quite naturally. Promising innovation, the Pentagon’s announcement that they would integrate hundreds of journalists into combat units—what has been known as embedding—attracted the attention of the international media and other observers. How would this be different from previous interactions between the military and the media?

The Embedding Apparatus explains the functioning of the informational control apparatus at work during the Iraq War and the relationships between embedded journalists and the military in the American army’s area of operations. The concept of the apparatus guides this case study, one that brings together the experiences of almost forty participants, journalists and military personnel. The study borrows Michel Foucault’s modern surveillance mechanisms of the disciplinary apparatus and the panoptic apparatus, bringing embedded journalism into close contact with the ubiquitous and flexible surveillance that characterizes the "control society." The author exposes a new embedding apparatus where the power relations between journalists and the military are at play, an apparatus operating within a circumscribed space where all of a journalist’s movements, reporting, behavior and communications are surveilled.

This book offers a fresh insight into this important issue and will certainly be of interest worldwide to scholars and students as well as media and military practitioners interested in this topic. Embedded journalism is studied from a new angle, one related to the broader context of surveillance in contemporary society.

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Annex 3: News Media Ground Rules (Law Change 3, Dod Directive 5122.5), May 22, 2008



Mutli-National Forces—Iraq (MNF-I) Combined Press Information Center International Zone, Baghdad, Iraq

Asof: May 22, 2008

NEWS MEDIA GROUND RULES (IAW Change 3, DoD Directive 5122.5) Ground Rules Agreement

The following is a listing of ground rules that have been developed to protect members of the Armed Services from the release of information that could potentially threaten their security or safety during combat operations. These ground rules recognize the inherent right of the media to cover combat operations and are in no way intended to prevent release of embarrassing, negative or derogatory information. During an operation, specific information on friendly force troop movements, tactical deployments, and dispositions that would jeopardize operational security or lives will not be reported. This would include unit designations, names of operations, and size of friendly forces involved, until released by the operational unit or Multi-National Forces—Iraq.

Acceptance of these ground rules is an agreement between you and the granting commands. You agree to follow the ground rules and the command will provide support, access to service members, information, and other privileges. Violation of ground rules may result in the revocation of your credentials.

These ground rules apply to media reporting with MNF-I, to include Iraqi Security Forces under operational control of the Coalition.←149 | 150→

(1) All interviews with service members will be on the...

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