Newly published research finds clear difference in reporting of conflict and non-conflict injuries. British newspapers are routinely glamorising combat by creating a moral separation between combat and non-combat injuries, according to new research published in the journal Media, War and Conflict.

Academics from Anglia Ruskin University’s Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research (VFI) examined the reporting of injuries sustained by British military personnel during the height of the UK’s war in Afghanistan in 2009, and a comparison period in 2014, in all daily and Sunday UK national newspapers.

They found that representation of injured personnel differed substantially between articles reporting on combat and non-combat injuries, with wounds suffered in battle being framed as more ‘heroic’ than those sustained in other situations, such as during training or in road traffic accidents.

Newspapers tended to provide factual descriptions of non-combat injuries, but in reports of wounds suffered in battle, there was a tendency to add emotive terms, such as “horrific” or “harrowing”, and provide more details and context.

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