The Iraq War and European Press-State Relations - Case of Finland, Ireland and the UK
From the beginning, it was clear that Iraq posed more of a public relations than a military challenge to the US-led coalition. While the US struggled to mobilise support for military action, European governments were forced to determine their positions. The dissensus over Iraq on both international and national levels offers a rich setting for cross-national research. The aim is to investigate whether US-originated theories of media-state relations have explanatory power in democracies in more general terms. This study focuses on three European states, Finland (anti-war), Ireland (neutral) and the UK (pro-war), which adopted different policies with regard to Iraq and in which the national Iraq policies created controversy. The study employs both qualitative and quantitative content analysis in order to determine the range of sources, the topic selection and the tone of the press coverage of the Iraq crisis and the national Iraq policies. The data consist mainly of two daily quality papers from each country from different ends of the political spectrum. The main periods of analysis cover four weeks at critical phases of the crisis between February and May 2003.