Англофил (valchess) wrote,

Цитатник Англофила по выходным - 13: revisited

Вдогонку ко вчерашнему посту о продаже своих историй прессе моряками - бывшими иранскими пленниками. События развивались так стремительно, что надо, пожалуй, отследить (опять же, в цитатах) и дальше этот весьма показательный (и не слишком частый) случай эффективного воздействия общественного мнения на властные структуры. Ниже я процитирую выступление министра обороны, а также необычно резкую редакционную статью The Times (вообще-то более лояльной нынешнему правительству газеты в Альбионе нет) и материал из Telegraph, кратко и без эмоций рассматривающий за и против "продажи прессе военных историй". Что вкупе с предыдущим постом позволит воссоздать весьма объемную картину этого очень интересного эпизода современной британской истории.

Итак, правительство быстро осознало масштабы PR disaster. И несмотря на выходной (и более того - праздничный) вчерашний день министр обороны (Defence Secretary) Дэс Браун (Des Browne) сделал официальное заявление. Он признал, что решение разрешить морякам общаться с прессой за плату было ошибочным, сообщил, что уроки из этого дела будут извлечены и соответствующие регулирующие документы будут пересмотрены, и объявил, что пока новые правила не введены, он запрещает военнослужащим получать от СМИ деньги в принципе. Цитирую с сайта минобороны:

1) "A very tough call" - Des Browne makes statement on media payments to Service personnel

"I recognise the dilemma that faced the Royal Navy last week.</p>

"The Naval officers who had the responsibility of looking after the young people detained in Iran saw that the pressure on them and their families made it inevitable that some of them would accept media offers to tell their story in return for payment.

"The dilemma facing the Navy was this; should they refuse to give them permission to accept payment, recognising that some of them would find ways to tell their experiences anyway, without the support and advice of their service, and therefore with greater risk to themselves and crucially also at risk to operational security? Or should the Navy accept that in this particular and exceptional case, and in the modern media environment, they should give permission for these young people to tell their story precisely in order to stay close to them but accepting the consequence of the potential payment involved?

"Many strong views on this have been expressed but I hope people will understand that this was a very tough call, and that the Navy had a duty to support its people.

"Nevertheless all of us who have been involved over the last few days recognise we have not reached a satisfactory outcome. We must learn from this.

"This morning we announced a review of the regulations governing this area, looking at, among other things, the consistency of the regulations across the services, their clarity and, more broadly, whether the regulations are right for the modern media environment. I want to be sure those charged with these difficult decisions have clear guidance for the future.

"Until that time, no further service personnel will be allowed to talk to the media about their experiences in return for payment."

2) Редакционная статья в сегодняшней The Times:

Shot to Pieces
Leading article

Ministers cannot escape blame for this military fiasco

If the Iranian regime had any concerns about the wisdom of releasing the 15 British Service personnel last week, those doubts have surely disappeared by now. Tehran sought to extract every propaganda advantage it could out of their captivity and must have been surprised but pleased by the level of co-operation received from some of those captured. Absolutely nothing that Iran could have done, however, comes anywhere close to the catastrophe that has resulted from allowing the released sailors and Marines to sell their stories to the media.

Six days ago it was possible to argue which of Britain and Iran had “won” or “lost” more from this episode. Today there can be no debate. Britain has lost, and all its potential foes have been the victors.

Some of the words published yesterday beggared belief. To have a serving member of the military declare in print that he was “crying like a baby” after being imprisoned will hardly serve as a disincentive to kidnapping British troops. Nor, for that matter, would it offer a foreign army or terrorist unit any reason to fear encountering British forces in combat. For a short period in solitary confinement to be regarded as an excuse for engaging in what older generations would have deemed collaboration with an enemy is not impressive either. Nor for that matter is folding after being threatened with the prospect of being put on trial for spying.

The Iranians behaved in a manner that was deeply unpleasant. Nothing they did, though, was unprecedented or unpredictable. It is bad enough that these basic intimidation techniques worked so well. For those who fell for them to admit it so openly and then to ask for public sympathy is appalling. The 14 men and one woman were serving in the Armed Forces, not in the Big Brother house.

The contrast between this orgy of introspection and the admirable dignity of the families of the four soldiers who died in southern Iraq last week is striking. It is the latter who represent the real spirit of the British military, yet it is not their stoical stand that will be reported in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The blunt reality is that the lives of those left behind in the Basra area will have been endangered by a display of self-pity for profit, which will only encourage Iran and insurgents alike. It is hard to imagine how the aftermath of the release of the 15 hostages could have worked out worse.

And for that ministers as well as senior military figures must shoulder the blame. One of the reasons provided for allowing the ex-captives to hawk their stories was that the Ministry of Defence would at least be able to “control” what became public. If this is “control”, then what outright anarchy might be is beyond comprehension.

Admirals are not trained to have an expertise in the arts of popular television and newspapers; politicians, however, should have known that they were sanctioning sensationalism that could do immense harm to the reputation of the Armed Forces. There are profound questions to be asked of Des Browne, the Secretary for Defence, and his colleagues. An awful situation is being made worse as sections of the senior military seem to be almost desperate to distance themselves from this fiasco.

Mr Browne now appears to be in full retreat, but the battle is already lost.

3) Материал из Daily Telegraph "Военные истории: продавать или не продавать"?

Military stories: To sell or not to sell?

The MoD has restored its ban on military personnel selling their stories to the media, after a public outcry. But why was the exception granted in the first place, and what prompted such a wave of anger? Matthew Moore looks at the arguments:


  • The MoD said it granted the exemption because of "exceptional media interest". But newspapers, especially tabloids, are willing to pay for the most prurient of stories. That the media wants to buy a story does not mean that it should be sold, especially by serving military personnel.

  • To trump Iran's propaganda coup. Despite the sailors' and soldiers' assurances that their televised "confessions" on Iranian TV were recorded under duress, many in the Arab world still believe that they were in Iranian waters when they were seized, and that they were treated well in prison. Allowing the captives to tell their personal stories could help chip away at these misconceptions.

  • To contradict the image of a British failure. Questions are now being asked about why Iran's Revolutionary Guards managed to seize the Britons so easily. Encouraging the media to focus on the trials endured by Leading Seaman Faye Turney and her colleagues could help deflect attention away from the MoD and the Royal Navy.

  • To deflect criticism of the personnel. As the euphoria of their release fades, former soldiers are beginning to question why the 15 allowed themselves to appear as such willing propaganda tools for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime. It is only fair that they are allowed to answer their critics.

  • To recompense the soldiers and sailors for their ordeal. They spent two weeks in solitary confinement in an Iranian prison, frequently blindfolded and unaware whether they would be released alive. Why begrudge them a chance to cash in?


    Rules are rule . Other military personnel are forbidden from selling their stories. Making an exception for Iran's captives would undermine morale.

  • The Armed Forces are meant to promote heroism and sacrifice, not greed and celebrity. Are soldiers to be encouraged to make military decisions with their eyes on future fame and riches? And will they be able to take legal action if the MoD tries to stop them? Kelvin MacKenzie, the former editor of The Sun, said: "They have opened up a can of worms. It is a catastrophic error by our Secretary of State for Defence."

  • Hundreds of military personnel have been killed doing their duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why should their families receive nothing when the Iran 15, who have arguably suffered considerably less, get rich? Mike Aston, whose son, Cpl Russell Aston, was killed in Iraq in 2003, said: "I think to actually sell (my) story it would besmirch my son's memory. I really think this whole thing has been shameful and this just compounds it by going for the money."

  • The payments appear to reward failure. The 15 endured a horrible ordeal, but did not distinguish themselves with any acts of heroism. Lord Heseltine, the former Defence Secretary, said: "What an extraordinary story that people who every day take calculated risks with their lives are expected to earn relatively small sums of money whilst people who get themselves taken hostage, in circumstances which are worth exploring, can make a killing. I have never heard anything so appalling."

  • The payments promote trial by media. The 15 should be answerable to their commanders, not to newspapers.

  • The MoD, like the Iranians, is using the captives as propaganda tools. The Iranians gave the 15 gifts for their "co-operation". We allow them the take thousands of pounds from newspapers in return for telling a more pro-British account.

  • The newspaper payments throw doubt on the validity of the sailors' stories. The public mistrusts those who sell, rather than tell, their stories. While there is no suggestion that the 15 have exaggerated their

  • Why is payment necessary? It is understandable that the MoD wants to focus attention on the suffering of the personnel. But why not let them speak to papers without a fee? As Lieut Felix Carman, one of those freed last week, said: "I am not interested in making money. My main aim is to tell the story. I'd happily do it for free.

    Наконец, привлеку внимание к небольшому обмену мнениями с юзером ign, который не согласился с моими оценками, ибо полагает, что "Современное западное общество устроено так, что человек, получивший свои 5 минут славы - по любой причине - имеет возможность извлечь из этого материальную выгоду.
  • Tags: Британия, Образ жизни, Пресса, Террор, Цитатник
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