Friday, May 04, 2007

Army Censors Bloggers

From Wired News:

The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops' online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say. Military officials have been wrestling for years with how to handle troops who publish blogs. Officers have weighed the need for wartime discretion against the opportunities for the public to personally connect with some of the most effective advocates for the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq -- the troops themselves. The secret-keepers have generally won the argument, and the once-permissive atmosphere has slowly grown more tightly regulated. Soldier-bloggers have dropped offline as a result.

The new rules (.pdf) obtained by Wired News require a commander be consulted before every blog update. "This is the final nail in the coffin for combat blogging," said retired paratrooper Matthew Burden, editor of The Blog of War anthology. "No more military bloggers writing about their experiences in the combat zone. This is the best PR the military has -- it's most honest voice out of the war zone. And it's being silenced."

Sure glad this wasn't the case when I was in Iraq - I spent hours each day writing for my blog and it was one thing that helped me stay connected with the outside world.

3 comments:

Marilyn said...

Electronic communication is an elusive genie and that genie is out of the bottle. I don't think this ban was one of the army's better decisions.

Robin Edgar said...

Well I'm still writing about my experiences in the combat zone of the war of the U*U World. . . ;-)

Cal said...

Wonder how they will attempt to control IM? My brother, when he was stationed in Baghdad, used IM to keep in touch with his family, and it was interesting to glance down and see when he was online and have a chat for a few minutes. And if I had turned around and added that to my blog...?