Other Names: Censorship of war reporting
Nature: Military censorship may include censorship of national and international media by means of mandatory submission of reports before they can be released, of every page of copy needing to be stamped with a censor's stamp before it can be telexed, and by phone tapping. While practising countries maintain this scrutiny is vital to their national interests, it is often used only to serve the best interests of the people in power, not the interests of those whom they serve.
Incidence: The USA press was forbidden to enter Granada when the USA invaded that country in 1983, and Israel practices most of the censorship techniques mentioned above. During the course of the Gulf War governments placed severe restrictions on reporting on all aspects of the war such that the public's right to know was severely compromised. Coalition forces were allowed to filter and mould information in order to achieve their own objectives.
Claim: Democracy necessarily means that the public is entitled to know what its government is doing even during war time, provided that information does not endanger national security or the safety of troops. Democracy cannot flourish when there is unnecessary interference with the free flow of information, and the need for accurate information is particularly pressing during times of war.
Counter Claim: Following the Vietnam war, the government of the USA claimed that television coverage had thwarted its policy by showing an accurate picture of the horror of war, thereby sapping the morale of the public at home. Governments at war are justified in censoring media coverage, as was done for the Gulf War, in order to ensure continued support.
Problem Type: E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update 01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET