Sunday, January 07, 2007

Contractors, and Journalists?

The US Uniform Code of Military Justice now applies to civilian employees, and a damn good thing too. Various people at BoingBoing wonder whether journalists might also be affected.

Curiously, P.W. Singer is quoted as saying that "the Iraq war was the first where journalists could formally embed". Really? I'm sure, completely so, that those reporters travelling as formal war correspondents accredited to the Army in World War Two, who usually wore uniform, and in most western conflicts up to the 1991 Gulf war, who were usually effectively embedded although the word had yet to be invented as a term of abuse, were subject to military law.

In fact, the press corps who travelled to the Falklands in 1982 were informed shortly before the landing that they were now subject to the Naval Discipline Act, as they were formally part of the task force. This also meant that they were entitled to campaigning medals, although even Max Hastings didn't take up the offer.

There are obvious concerns, but then, I can't see worse possible consequences than those of letting mercenaries run riot here. Censorship is an obvious possibility, but then, without this they could always just tell the press to get lost, lie to them, etc. They've got the guns.

Check out the reactions here.

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