10 Aug 2007

Military Blogging Ban

New guidelines to stop military personnel talking about their experiences have been introduced by the Ministry of Defence. Blogging and sending text messages about military matters is now banned without permission, the Guardian newspaper has reported. The MOD went on to say; "all such communication must help to maintain and, where possible, enhance the reputation of defence"...
I can understand a need for control of such communication, especially if it contains operationally sensitive material. After all, no one would want a situation whereby military personnel ended up getting injured, or worse killed, due to careless talk. As during WWII the overriding message has to be; Careless Talk Costs Lives. The worrying aspect of this type of censorship is that, far too often, a policy such as this is imposed to protect inept management as opposed to operationally sensitive material. It is the same in today's modern business world and public sector service deliverers like the police are often no different.
It is commendable that MOD policy is reflecting changes in communications technology. What if this type of censorship becomes more widespread and far reaching? My police force has a 'talking to the media policy' and fortunately it is fairly liberal, as long as what you say is factual, accurately reflects official policies & procedures and falls within legislation. It would be worrying however if any policy, in any organisation, sought to stifle or control personal opinion!
Apparently the MOD guidelines, which have been in place for ten years or more, were 'updated' to reflect the findings of The Hall Report on talking to the media and the growth of the Internet.

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