In Chapter Four of Mediating the Message in the 21st Century: A Media Sociology Perspective there is discussion of how information is often controlled during time of war. I found this passage particularly fascinating, as I was a information gatekeeper while in Afghanistan during my combat tour. From the outside perspective, as viewed in our book, it appears the keeping of information during war is some sort of censorship directed at reducing the knowledge of the public on the doings of the military, when in actuality, that is not the intent.
This sparked interest in researching a little more on the subject and how journalists in the field feel about this information protection. It turns out, many journalist feel similar sentiments when it comes to the reporting of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The attached video is a perfect example of what I found during my research.
Now, let’s get to my military background in Army Public Affairs and the comprehension I have gleaned from my service. I believe:
Photographs and videos of the effectiveness of the Taliban would jeopardize the safety of the men and women fighting in Afghanistan. Just imagine what could happen if the Taliban could start determining our military’s shortcomings by merely watching our news. It could be disastrous.
The fact of the matter is this: news stories have a global reach—meaning, everything our intended audience gets, the Taliban gets as well. This information is protected for service members’ safety, not censored as a malicious attack on American Citizens.
What do you find more important– safeguarding information on behalf of the safety of our service members or providing all combat information to the American public?