The Final Frontier: News Media's Use of Commercial Satellite Imagery During Wartime - Technology and History of Imaging, Legal, Regulatory, and Ethica
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This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. It is a long-held belief the news media will go to almost any length to get a story. Television reporters have waded into the middle of civil-war firefights to show viewers and readers human suffering up close, used hidden-camera tricks to flush out stories on consumer fraud, and even laid down their lives to expose human-rights atrocities by international governments. Over the last 10 years, in the midst of a telecommunications revolution, the media can now gather and report stories in ways that once seemed impossible.The purpose of this research paper is to explore how the mass media uses satellite imaging to gather information during wartime and determine what impact this technology has had, and will have, on advancing the art of news telling during armed conflict. Does satellite imagery impact the U.S. military's ability to effectively wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq? What challenges does this technology present for future military conflicts?Because satellite imaging has only been commercially viable for the last 30 years, the news media is still trying to fully understand the utility of this imprecise science. With improvements in satellite imaging occurring at a lightning-quick pace, the media, the military and the U.S. government are trying to understand how this technology might affect media coverage during wartime. These issues and dilemmas are addressed in this paper.The paper is divided into four sections: (1) a technical primer for a broader understanding of exactly how these extraterrestrial cameras photograph and transmit images back to the earth's surface, as well as the history of satellite imaging; (2) the media's use of satellite images during recent U.S. armed conflicts, specifically Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom; (3) legal and regulatory issues facing both the media and the satellite-imaging industry in regards to the use of this technology during wartime, specifically the issue of the U.S. government's imposition of prior restraint; and (4) the ethical issues and responsibilities facing the media regarding the violation of national security, as well as the future of satellite imagery. The author's research involved a descriptive, qualitative methodology, using primarily documentation out of space-industry journals, books, newspaper and magazine articles, and speech transcripts from noted media and space experts.

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