Official censorship of the news media by the Canadian government has only occurred twice in the history of the nation: during the First and Second World Wars. Yet, the news media was quick to use the word "censorship" when the first ground rules agreement for the news media was developed by the Canadian Forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War to restrict what journalists aboard its ships could write about. Canada's involvement in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan provides a rich opportunity to examine whether the Canadian news media faces either official or unofficial censorship in its reporting on the war in Kandahar, the Canadians' area of responsibility. It also provides an opportunity to conduct case study research and to compare and contrast the Canadian news media's coverage of selected Canadian combat operations during the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the 1999 Kosovo air war, and in Afghanistan. This study suggests that journalists and the military alike have both been involved in censorship at different times and to varying degrees throughout these conflicts.
Dr. Bob Bergen is an adjunct assistant professor in the University of Calgary's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies and a Fellow of the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute. Bob is a former journalist who began specializing in covering the Canadian Forces in the mid-1970s. His coverage of the Forces included assignments on United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations in the Middle East (1977), Cyprus (1978), Cold War Europe (1978), and in Croatia and Bosnia (1994). He began his Ph.D. studies on a part-time basis in May 1999 and left the Calgary Herald in July 2000 after twenty years to pursue those studies full-time. In December 2007, Dr. Bergen participated in a fact- finding trip to North Atlantic Treaty Organization Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium; NATO headquarters in Kabul, and ISAF operations in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was jointly organized by NATO and the Department of National Defence for Security and Defence Forum academics.
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