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Ministry of Defence censorship rules further extended to cover new sharing technologies

Following the self inflicted media disaster over the capture and humiliation of British naval personnel by the Iranians, and the dithering by Des "Swiss Tony" Browne the Minister of Defence regarding the sale of some of the naval crews' personal stories to the media, the Ministry of Defence public relations department (the Director General, Media and Communications - DGMC) has issued a new censorship regulation:

DIN 2007DIN03-006: Contact with the Media and Communicating in Public
Rules governing contacts between all MoD personnel – military and civilian – and the media, and for writing or speaking in public.
(6 page .pdf document - read only copy and paste disabled)

Whilst, obviously, it has always been forbidden for serving military personnel to publish anything that might risk Operational Security, these new regulations seem to concentrate much more on presenting a positive media spin about "Defence" - there is only one short paragraph which actually mentions Operational Security.

They are all inclusive, covering not just serving military personnel, but a vast range of other people as well:

Applicability 2. This instruction applies to all members of the regular Armed Forces, the Volunteer Reserve Forces and members of the Regular Reserves undertaking Service duties, cadets, civilian volunteers when on duty, and the MoD Civil Servants regardless of where they work, and Crown Servants whithn the Regional Forces and Cadets Associations and their Council: its provisions must be followed by those in international organizations, agencies and trading funds. It covers public speaking, writing or other communication, including via the internet and any other sharing technologies, on issues arising from an individual's official business or experience, whether on-duty, off-duty, or in spare time. It does not cover public communication by the Ministry of Defence Police relating to criminal investigations, which are dealt with independently by the NDP press office, who are accountable to the Chief Constable, MDP

and they try to cover all conceivable present and future "sharing technologies".

Section 4 - Communicating in public

15 Examples of communicating in public are:

  • publishing material (for example books, articles, papers for academic qualifications, or any other text, audio, still images, video or other content) or submitting material with the intention or likelihood of publication, in any medium (print or electronic) available outside government;

  • self-publishing or otherwise releasing material on the internet or similar sharing technologies, for example through a blog, podcast or other shared test, audio, video, including mobile devices;

  • interviews with journalists using broadcast, print or electronic media;

  • speaking at conferences, private engagements, or other events where the public or media may be present;

  • completing external organizations questionnaires, taking part in external surveys or polls, or contributing to external studies or research projects;

  • contributing to any online community, or shared electronic information resource available outside government, for example a bulletin board, newsgroup, wiki, on-line social network, multiplayer game or information-sharing application.

Remember that the HMS Cornwall / Iranian prisoners media circus affair involved naval personnel who sold their stories to the tabloid newspapers after having applied for permission from their superiors and the Ministry of Defence bureaucracy, and by default, Defence Minister Des "Swiss Tony" Browne, who had to apologise in Parliament for bungling the media aspects of the affair.

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