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Editor and Publisher reports today that five embedded reporters working with Coalition forces in Iraq have been booted from their privileged positions for transmitting information that endangered the security of the troops:
As Iraq moves closer to its first democratic elections later this month, the number of news organizations requesting embedded slots with military units there is on the rise, according to officials. But those new embeds better watch their step. E&P has learned that five journalists have been kicked out of embed slots in the past three months for reporting secure information.
"They were all for operational security reasons, (revealing) something that would have been of use to the enemy," Maj. Kris Meyle, who runs the embed program, told E&P from Baghdad this morning. "Generally, it gets done very quickly. Usually it was something that was not done intentionally by the reporter."
Meyle did not disclose the identities of the embeds sent home, but did note that they all represented broadcast media and not newspapers. Reporters embedded with troops get clear instructions not to disclose information that could be used by enemies to target the troops on the ground; failure to comply gets a reporter kicked out, as has happened here. During the invasion, reporters didn't seem to have a problem complying with the standards, but that's probably due to the moment-to-moment action of the battles they covered. Now they have more time to develop stories and more pressure to deliver sensational reports, which leads to errors in judgment.
E&P also reports that more requests for embeds have come in as the Iraqi elections draw closer, an interesting and somewhat contradictory development. The media has trumpeted the lack of security that threatens to derail the elections -- and yet more reporters want to be at the polling places to report the story. I'm not questioning the courage of the reporters, but does it occur to them that the Iraqis themselves might have more at stake in this election and will have the motivation to risk a visit to these same polling stations?Sphere It View blog reactions
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There can be a fine line between reporting what can be considered comprimising coverage versus not newsworty coverage. It is strictly a judgement call and one these five journalists aparently made wrong, though it is extremely doubtful it was on purpose. [Read More]
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