2008-02-29

Selbstzensur der britischen Medien im Fall Harry

--- Die britischen Medien hatten sich ein nationales Schweigegel�bde �ber den Kampfaufenthalt ihres geliebten Prinz Harrys im S�den Afghanistans auferlegt, wird nun nach der Bekanntmachung der Geschichte durch Matt Drudge und seinen omin�sen Blog-Report offenbar. Drudge -- am besten bekannt durch seinen Scoop mit der Clinton-Lewinsky-Aff�re -- bezog seine Informationen angeblich aus einer schon im Januar publizierten australischen Nachricht �ber den Einsatz des Blaubl�ters im wilden Kriegsgebiet einer australischen Gazette, die zun�chst nicht weiter f�r Aufsehen gesorgt hatte. Nur der London-Korrespondent der "Frau im Spiegel" wunderte sich auch, wieso Harry nicht mehr das Nachtleben in London bereicherte. Jetzt ist herausgekommen, dass das britische Verteidigungsministerium den Medien im sonst so klatschs�chtigen Gro�britannien ins Gewissen geredet, sch�ne Fotoreportagen nach der R�ckkehr des Prinzen angeboten und so das Stillhalte-Abkommen erwirkt hatte. Doch das Verhalten der britischen Presse wirft medienethische Fragen auf, findet nicht nur die Washington Post:
Harry, 23, ... deployed to Afghanistan on Dec. 14 and has been fighting Taliban forces from a forward combat base in southern Helmand province. His presence there had been kept secret from the public in a remarkable deal between the British military and media. But the secret was revealed in two little-noticed articles in an Australian tabloid magazine, and then blasted into the global media spotlight Thursday by the Drudge Report Web site. ... As soon as the news of his deployment leaked, British newspapers and television stations rolled out extensive special reports on the first British royal to see combat since the Falklands War more than 25 years ago. Those reports included lengthy taped interviews with Harry just before hisdeployment in December and last week at his Afghan base. Photos and video showed Harry firing a machine gun, patrolling on foot in full combat gear in an Afghan village and washing his socks in a camp sink. "All my wishes have come true," Harry told reporters in last week's camp interview, wearing a brown military T-shirt and camouflage pants and noting that he had not showered in four days. ...

The idea that Britain's diverse and highly competitive media outlets could keep a secret about anything struck many observers as remarkable -- particularly when that secret was England's favorite young hell-raising party boy. "It makes me wonder what else is going on," said John Harmer, 30, a London office worker. "I don't think it can be the first time" that the media have agreed to keep information from the public. Some wondered whether an agreement among leading media outlets to withhold information would damage the media's credibility. "One wonders whether viewers, readers and listeners will ever want to trust media bosses again," TV broadcaster Jon Snow wrote in his blog. "Or perhaps this was a courageous editorial decision to protect this fine young man?" Every major news outlet in Britain signed on to the deal, which was struck in three meetings called by top military officials between September and December, according to a media source involved in the process. ...

Details of the arrangement were hammered out at the second and third meetings. In return for their silence, the media would get access to a pre-deployment interview. They would also be allowed several "embeds" with Harry's unit. Pooled interviews, video footage and photographs of Harry in Afghanistan would be made available to all. ... British media critic Roy Greenslade called the Harry story "an incredible piece of self-censorship."
Harry selbst wird die Tage nun fr�hzeitig abgezogen, hat das britische Verteidigungsministerium verk�ndet.

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