How embedded journalists in Iraq viewed the arrest of Al-Jazeera reporter Taysir Alouni

Shahira Fahmy, Thomas J. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Studies suggest that US reporters, who enjoy the protection of the First Amendment, are strong supporters of freedom of the press. However, studies also suggest that the press rarely challenges the positions of government elites, unless those elites do not agree on a course of action. What happens when attitudes toward free press and government policy collide? This study relies on a survey of embedded journalists conducted soon after the conviction of Al-Jazeera's most prominent reporter, Taysir Alouni, on charges that he collaborated with terrorist organizations. The survey was designed to discover whether embeds believe the arrest sets a dangerous precedent. The study also examines the degree to which attitudes about whether the arrest sets a dangerous precedent are correlated with attitudes about press freedom and amount of censorship in Iraq. Respondents were more likely than not to believe that the arrest would set a dangerous precedent, but the plurality did not take a position on the issue. Those who believed reporters should have maximum access to the war and those who believed that the government engaged in censorship were more likely to argue that Alouni's arrest may have a chilling effect on journalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-65
Number of pages19
JournalMedia, War and Conflict
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Al-Jazeera
  • Taysir Alouni
  • embedded journalists
  • freedom of press

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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