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Urinal or conduit? Institutional information flow between the UK intelligence services and the news media

Lashmar, P. (2013). Urinal or conduit? Institutional information flow between the UK intelligence services and the news media. Journalism, 14(8), pp. 1024-1040. doi: 10.1177/1464884912472139

Abstract

Since the 1990s, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Security Service (MI5) have developed formal links with most major UK news organisations in an effort to improve the agencies’ media presentation. This article discusses the impact and inherent problems of these relationships, including whether the news media can have official, formal but non-attributable links with these agencies without compromising their role as the fourth estate.

Utilising epistemologies for crime reporting and news sources, this article proposes an initial framework to analyse these institutional relationships. It also takes as a case study the controversy over whether MI5 deliberately played down their prior knowledge of 7/7 suicide bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan. The author was one of the journalists briefed by MI5 on Khan and has here taken the Khan controversy as a case study to investigate the Security Service’s information flow and whether the agency misled, and indeed intended to mislead, the media and the public.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Lashmar, P., Urinal or conduit? Institutional information flow between the UK intelligence services and the news media, Journalism, 14 (8) pp. 1024-1040. Copyright © 2013, the authors. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Publisher Keywords: MI5, MI6, Security Service, Secret Service, transparency, intelligence agencies, primary definers, news sources, accredited journalists
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Journalism
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/18367
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