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British Soldiers Banned from Selling their Stories - Poll result says NO to Selling

Politics / Iran Apr 09, 2007 - 11:13 PM GMT

By: John_York


In a swift turn of events, the Ministry of Defence has reversed its decision to allow the released British soldiers / personnel from selling further stories, after mounting negative response to the TV and press stories sold for six figure sums. Des Browne (Defence Secretary) announced - "No further service personnel will be allowed to talk to the media about their experiences in return for payment." and stated that a 'review of regulations' would now take place following outrage from all sections of the public.

This follows the Market Oracle Opinion Poll conducted between 7th and 9h April 2007, which resulted in 62% of respondents voting that the released Navy Military personnel should NOT be allowed to sell their stories to the media. Click here for the background to the capture and opinion poll

Criticism had been mounting of the cheque book journalism used to peddle British Anti-Iranian propaganda from all sides including ex military, and families of the soldiers killed in action labeling the story sales as obscene. One things for sure, if anything negative was contained in the stories that had been sold to the media, then the Ministry of Defence (MOD) would not have allowed to been allowed.

If it was not already evident, this has undoubtly turned into a public relations disaster, not only in the UK, but across the world with headlines such as -

Storm in UK as freed sailors sell stories to media - Malaysia Star, Malaysia 

Anger as hostages sell stories to highest bidder - The Brunei Times, Brunei Darussalam 

British MoD defends crew story sale - Irish Times, Ireland

Labor Party Under Fire for Allowing Captured Brits to Sell Their Stories - Fox News

Grieving mother attacks MoD - Times Online

Outrage over decision to sell soldiers' Iran ordeal - The South African Star, South Africa 

Comments from families of killed soldiers and former military officers include -

Mike Aston, whose son Russell was one of six British military policeman killed by a mob in Iraq in 2003, said he was "absolutely amazed" at the decision. "Let's put it this way, regarding my son's death and it was a very high profile case - I can put my hand on my heart and say that I've never sought or made a penny out of it in any way, shape or form," he said. "I think to actually sell (my) story would besmirch my son's memory."

Retired British colonel Bob Stewart, who commanded UN troops in Bosnia, said "it made him "a bit sick" as families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan had not struck similar deals over what he said was a military disaster".

Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed in the Basra in June 2003, told the Sunday Times: "This is wrong and I don't think it should be allowed by the government."

With much of the commentary similarly highly critical and the public viewing the story sales as mostly a propaganda tool, with the expectations that the stories have been grossly exaggerated for dramatic effect as part of the ongoing war of words with the Iran in part over its nuclear ambitions.


The opinion poll was conducted between 8th April 07 and 14th April 07 - The question asked was :

Are the British Military Personnel Right to Sell their Stories for Personal Profit to the Media ?

Yes - They are Right to Sell their stories for personal profit 37 %37 %37 % 37.75 % (77)
NO -They should Not be allowed to Sell their stories to the media. 62 %62 %62 % 62.25 % (127)

In total 204 respondents voted,

The Poll was scheduled to end on 14th of April 07, but was cut short due to the ban announced on further sale of stories.

By John York

Copyright © 2007

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