Nonee Walsh


Mediating justice: investigating the media framing of the 2006 AWB inquiry



During the reporting of the Cole inquiry into Iraqi Oil for Food contracts (2006) it became apparent that journalists were doing more than reporting the proceedings in a fair and accurate manner. This research will examine whether pursuing news values, questioning the constraints of the inquiry’s terms of reference and focusing on evidence of government involvement in misconduct, shifted public attention away from the purported purpose of the inquiry which was to inquire into AWB and other companies. Media coverage of such inquiries may also give an impression of guilt/criminality/immorality being uncovered that is not satisfied by the findings. It is also arguable that extensive media coverage may influence the way legal practitioners performed during the inquiry. These dynamics which mostly go unreported in the media then spark debate about the legitimacy of such proceedings and the credibility of the media coverage surrounding it. The question then is whether media framing influences the conduct and perceptions of legal inquiries to their detriment.