Reporting restraints eased

Defense Media Activity, the Pentagon agency that encompasses Stars and Stripes, has
withdrawn a memo that it sent out Dec. 10 limiting the ability of this independent news organization’s professional journalists to fully do their jobs.

“The Security Advisory distributed on December 10, 2010, regarding WikiLeaks is hereby
rescinded,” the DMA said today in a one-sentence e-mail distributed to all employees and contractors who operate under its aegis.

The action presumably also rescinds a legal opinion from the DMA’s counsel that affirmed the Dec. 10 measures.

There was no indication of when or if new guidelines would be issued or what they might say. I would hope they would include an exemption for Stars and Stripes journalists.

I have asked the publisher, Max Lederer Jr., for his thoughts and will update this item if
he responds. I’ll also post developments as I become aware of them.

For context, or if you’re just encountering this issue, please see my two previous columns on the subject, “Now comes dont’ read, don’t tell” and “The sound of silence.”

This column was published in Stars and Stripes on Dec. 21, 2010.

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