The report is titled Department of Defense War Manual, which was relased last June. The 1,176 page, 297 footnoted document is dense and stocked full of military jargon. But Michael Oreskes, the senior vice president for news and editorial director at National Public Radio, has plowed through it and took strong exception to some of its claims. In an August 19, 2015 letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter, Mr. Oreskes began by stating: “A country that protects its journalists, protects the truth. The Department of Defense’s recently issued Law of War Manual fails to do that.” Among other things, Mr. Oreskes complained that:
- “The document creates dangerous ambiguity around the collection of information for use in reporting.”
- “The Manual does not explain the distinction between newsgathering and spying except to note vaguely that journalists should “act openlyand with the permission of relevant authorities” and that they should present “identification documents” to prove they are journalists.”
- “The Manual, as it is currently drafted, might be read to empower governments to judge for themselves whether a U.S. journalist’s work is spying, and to punish the journalist accordingly.”
In a story by Benjamin Mullin, writing in Poynter, it was also repaired that “several other news organizations, including The New York Times, The Associated Press and ABC News, expressed disapproval of certain things in the Manual. “Writing for The New York Times, editorial board member Ernesto Londono said a possible Pentagon decision to revise the manual “can’t happen quickly enough.” In that regard, Mr. Londo noted:
Allowing this document to stand as guidance for commanders, government lawyers and officials of other nations would do severe damage to press freedoms. Authoritarian leaders around the world could point to it to show that their despotic treatment of journalists — including Americans — is broadly in line with the standards set by the United States government. . . .
Even more disturbing is the document’s broad assertion that journalists’ work may need to be censored lest it reveal sensitive information to the enemy. This unqualified statement seems to contravene American constitutional and case law, and offers other countries that routinely censor the press a handy reference point. . . .
A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to say whether White House officials contributed to or signed off on the manual. Astonishingly, the official pointed to a line in the preface, which says it does not necessarily reflect the views of the “U.S. government as a whole.”
→ See also “U.S. Department of Defense manual allows some journalists to be held as ‘belligerents’,” Associated Press, August 25, 2o15 (“‘I’m troubled by the label ‘unprivileged belligerents,’ which seems particularly hostile,’ said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor. ‘It sounds much too easy to slap that label on a journalist if you don’t like their work, a convenient tool for those who want to fight wars without any outside scrutiny.'”)
[hat tip: Ashley Messenger]
FCC Defends Implementation of Net Neutrality Rules
This from Jon Brodkin at ArsTechnica: “The Federal Communications Commission yesterday said it did not violate the First Amendment rights of Internet service providers when it voted to implement net neutrality rules.”
“Broadband providers who sued to overturn the rules claim their constitutional rights are being violated, but the FCC disputed that and other arguments in a filing in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. . . .”
“‘Nobody understands broadband providers to be sending a message or endorsing speech when transmitting the Internet content that a user has requested,’ the FCC wrote. ‘When a user directs her browser to the New York Times or Wall Street Journal editorial page, she has no reason to think that the views expressed there are those of her broadband provider.'”
“First Amendment objections have been briefly raised by AT&T, CenturyLink, CTIA-The Wireless Association, and the United States Telecom Association. The argument that net neutrality rules violate broadband providers’ First Amendment rights was also made by Verizon back in 2012.”
“In the current case, the First Amendment objections have been made most forcefully by Alamo Broadband, a small provider in Texas. Alamo argued that ISPs ‘exercise the same editorial discretion as cable television operators in deciding which speech to transmit.'”
→ See here re FCC’s Net Neutrality order.
→ Jonathan Keane, “Net neutrality doesn’t violate ISPs’ first amendment rights says FCC,” Digital Trends, Sept. 15, 2015
Arkansas AG Calls on Court to Overrule Abood Read More