Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq


For information on Iraq since May 2003, please visit

12 actions for 12 years of sanctions

[Back to the Index of 12 actions]

8 - Write to a newspaper

Letters to newspapers demonstrate the level of public interest in a topic and are informative for readers and possibly journalists. Even letters that are not printed will still be read by newspaper staff.

* Write a letter to your local paper drawing attention to the twelfth anniversary of the imposition of sanctions. You could stress that while political debate is concentrated on whether the US and UK should take military action against the Iraqi regime, there remain significant concerns about the impact of sanctions on the Iraqi people. You could mention one or two of the points listed in the suggestions for letters to MPs in Action 1.

Itís a good idea to try to find a local angle for your letter. While some papers may print letters on general topics, especially midweek, a reference to a local military base, or to an event organised by a local anti-sanctions group, may improve the chances of your letter being published.

* Keep an eye out also for articles about Iraq in the national press. If you see any inaccuracies, or if you want to agree or disagree with a point made in an article, you could write a letter to the editor in response.

Take into account that national newspapers receive hundreds of letters every day and can publish only a selection. Some points to consider when writing a letter include:

- make your points clearly: donít try to cover too much ground, but instead, focus on one or two key points which youíd like to communicate to the reader, and which are most relevant to the original article.

- back up your claims: make reference to statements by UN agencies and NGOs that support your argument.

- be concise: bear in mind that anything over 200 words probably wonít get published.

- include all your details: give your name, full address and telephone number.

- send it off quickly: national newspapers are increasingly printing responses only to the previous dayís articles. As a result, itís best to send a letter before 3pm on the day of the articleís publication, or even better, on the same morning.

One way to keep in touch with what is printed in the national press, if you have access to email, is to join CASIís discussion list. List members from Voices in the Wilderness UK often send out a compilation of broadsheet coverage for the day on the same morning, allowing you time to get your replies in quickly. To subscribe to the list, email or go to


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