Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
MoD orders media black out for UK election
Only happy stories of grateful Afghans allowed?
Quote:Army faces Afghan gag for election

The Ministry of Defence has been accused of ordering a “truth blackout” over the war in Afghanistan amid warnings it is attempting to “bury bad news” during the election campaign.

By Andrew Gilligan
Published: 10:16PM GMT 07 Mar 2010

[Image: afghanistan_silhou_1580056c.jpg] The blackout is likely to be seen as a response to the increasing outspokenness of military chiefs Photo: EPA

British journalists and TV crews are to be banned from the Afghan front line once a date for the election has been set, while senior officers will be prohibited from making public speeches and talking to reporters.
MoD websites will also be “cleansed” of any “non-factual” material including anything containing troops’ opinions of the war, according to a memo leaked to The Daily Telegraph.

The edict comes as Gordon Brown was accused of using British troops as “political props” by visiting Afghanistan the day after giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War.
The war in Afghanistan is likely to be a sensitive political issue in the election campaign.
Last night the MoD confirmed a British soldier, from A Company 4 Rifles, was killed in a fire-fight yesterday bringing the total deaths since the conflict began to 271.
The Prime Minister has been repeatedly accused by former military chiefs of denying soldiers vital equipment.
In the memo, Nick Gurr, the MoD’s director of media and communications, says “embeds” for all British news broadcasters and national journalists will be prohibited during the campaign, expected to begin later this month.
Embeds, where the reporter lives in a military unit or base, are the only safe way to cover the fighting. Foreign and local journalists will, however, be continue to be granted such access, the memo says.
The MoD ruling comes despite the fact that up to 4,000 British troops - and a further 10,000 Americans and Afghans - are in the middle of the UK’s largest full-scale combat operation for seven years.
Operation Moshtarak, which aims to clear Taliban strongholds, is now in its fourth week and is soon to enter a new phase which could see significant British casualties. The only information provided on the operations during the election, however, will be through MoD briefings in Whitehall.
Government departments traditionally curtail their activities during an election campaign, a period known as “purdah”.
But there is no precedent for journalists being excluded from the battlefront for such a long period during operations of such significance. In the run-up to previous election campaigns, British military activity was at a relatively low ebb.
The prohibition on public speeches by senior officers is likely to be seen as a response to the increasing outspokenness of military chiefs, something also not seen in previous pre-election periods.
Beginning with the then head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, in 2006, senior personnel have openly pointed out the tension between the work the Armed Forces are expected to do and the resources provided to carry it out.
Mr Gurr says that allowing journalists to report from the frontline during the election “could call into question [the forces’] political impartiality or give rise to the criticism that public resources are being used for party political purposes.”
But the order has led to accusations that the government wants to hide the true picture of the war in Afghanistan from voters.
Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said he would table an emergency question in the House of Commons demanding an explanation on Monday.
“Given the recent visit of the Prime Minister, this is a bad joke,” he said. “There is clearly one rule for Gordon Brown, when he wants to use the armed forces as political props, and another for reporters who want to tell the public what is being done in their name.
“It’s a truth blackout. Nothing, especially the truth, is to stand in the way in Brown’s election. Our armed forces can fight and die, but not write or speak. Any critics of the Government are to be banned from having any contact with the press. This is the grotesque endgame of New Labour. They want to bury bad news and bury the truth.”
Colonel Douglas Young, chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, expressed “surprise” at the decision.
“It didn’t happen in 1945 - there was no question of limiting reporting at that time simply because an election was happening and I don’t see why there should be any questions of that now. Are we to stop operations during this period? Obviously not, and if operations are in process they should be reported upon in the normal way.
“It is ridiculous to expect the forces to be hiding away just because there’s a general election.”
Cdr John Muxworthy, chief executive of the UK National Defence Association, said: “To put a situation in place where the press is effectively going to be gagged, so it is not going to possible for people to see the real news from the front line, is incredible.
“Afghanistan is not a political issue - it’s a matter of national importance,” he added.
Col Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said: “It is wrong to gag the media, which is what this is. This is a critical campaign and the public have a right to be told what is happening.
“It is also wrong to prevent senior officers speaking.”
Gordon Brown has received considerable personal criticism for the way he funded the Armed Forces during his time as Chancellor.
Former chiefs directly contradicted the Prime Minister’s claim at the Chilcot inquiry that the Forces had been given everything they asked for.
Lieutenant-General Sir Graeme Lamb, former director of special forces, told The Daily Telegraph last week that the Armed Forces were “doomed” and were “clearly in decline,” while General Lord Guthrie, former chief of the defence staff, said that Mr Brown had been “disingenuous”.
Mr Gurr’s memo, written last week, is entitled “Purdah - Key Principles for Defence Communicators.”
It details a string of steps the MoD is taking to minimise the chance of embarrassing disclosures. Information on MoD and armed forces websites, it says, must be “cleansed.” Offical blogs and websites must “report factual information only”.
Even internal MoD and service journals, Mr Gurr says, must be “submitted for approval before publication” with “controversial issues avoided” because “these get into the public domain.”
An MoD spokesman said: “During the period between an election being called and taking place, communications activity across government is considerably constrained by the need to be fair to all political parties.
“The MOD recognises that it is vital to continue to tell the public about the efforts and achievements of our forces in Afghanistan during this period and has agreed principles with the Cabinet Office that allow this.”
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Bwa ha ha ...

"Get back in that box and don't come out for any reason until I say so!

Is that understood?!"

[Image: sip_light.img_assist_custom.jpg]

"I said , 'No peaking...!!!' No flashlights under the covers... "

"That's it... I've had it. You are grounded indefinitely, and your PDA account is being canceled, and by no means may you ever leave this house again."
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
The concept that public servants cannot speak on "politically sensitive" matters in the run-up to a general election is a classic Sir Humphrey-esque civil service convention.

Rather bizarrely, it is formally known as "purdah".

Gilligan is correct though that "purdah" has never before been used to exclude journalists from combat zones. To exclude even "embedded" journalists (ie hacks working under extreme control from the MoD) is ridiculous.

Especially after Gordon Brown jetted off for a photo-op in front of British soldiers directly after his Iraq Inquiry testimony was called "disengenous" by former military top brass.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
We are really SO GOOOOOD at teaching the REAL meaning and practice of Democracy in the 'West' to those unfortunates who don't have the luck of being just like us.....they must be shocked and awed! :flute: :aetsch:
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  John Pilger on the "complicit enablers" of war in the media David Guyatt 2 7,939 18-03-2019, 08:09 AM
Last Post: James Lewis
  Deep State, Deep Politics & The Deeply Compliant Media David Guyatt 2 11,480 12-03-2017, 08:09 PM
Last Post: Albert Doyle
  The Chilling Hypocrisy of the NYT's and the US Media David Guyatt 1 8,651 12-02-2017, 11:01 PM
Last Post: Paul Rigby
  Why the Mainstream Media is Freaking Out David Guyatt 0 4,538 14-12-2016, 11:41 AM
Last Post: David Guyatt
  The bit the media didn't show of the recently freed Iranian prisoners Magda Hassan 0 1,528 01-10-2011, 02:43 PM
Last Post: Magda Hassan
  Pentagon Seeks to Manipulate Social Media for Propaganda Purposes Ed Jewett 0 1,780 21-07-2011, 03:51 AM
Last Post: Ed Jewett
  Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media Ed Jewett 5 6,680 14-05-2010, 12:53 AM
Last Post: Mark Stapleton
  Obama on media, truth, iPods and Xbox Carsten Wiethoff 0 1,777 11-05-2010, 12:58 PM
Last Post: Carsten Wiethoff
  Pot Kettle Black Magda Hassan 1 1,921 12-02-2010, 12:06 PM
Last Post: David Guyatt
  The Right Wing Media's Lie Machine Magda Hassan 0 1,925 11-02-2010, 02:19 AM
Last Post: Magda Hassan

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)