The decision of Britain’s Ministry of Defence to bar Independent Television News from embedding journalists with the armed forces “strikes at the very heart of our democracy,” David Mannion, editor in chief of ITN writes in the Press Gazette today.
He accuses the MoD press office as behaving like “an apparatchik of a one-party state”. The row started when ITV News, provided by ITN, reported on the treatment of injured servicemen and women alongside civilians in NHS hospital.
What is unacceptable is that a civil servant, however senior, can affect a punitive ban on the legitimate operations of a major news organisation, simply because he didn’t like one of our reports.
Journalism will be on a non recoverable slippery slope if we allow this to pass.
Since this was written ITN has received a further letter from the MoD. We can only hope that this unnecessary episode can be ended quickly.