British Government Sets Rules for Media Coverage of Gulf War

Article excerpt

The British news media have been asked to submit to stern censorship rules in their coverage of a war in the Gulf.

Operating against a somber mood, symbolized by a massive 534 to 57 House of Commons vote Tuesday in favor of going to war, newspaper, television, and radio editors have been handed a seven-page Ministry of Defense set of censorship guidelines. It outlines 32 subjects on which information must not be published without official clearance.

The guidelines forbid journalists to mention specific locations, troop numbers, and operational techniques unless officially authorized to do so.

British journalists working in the electronic media have been warned to think twice before relying too heavily on foreign news agencies and on Cable News Network, the American global TV service.

Executives of the British Broadcasting Corporation and the commercially supported Independent Television News (ITN) have tried to dispute some of the guidelines, including the handling of casualty figures. …