Media

Hostage media deals

Did defence secretary, Des Browne, have a lobotomy for breakfast before he committed this fiasco? I only ask as it’s the only reasonable explanation. The decision to allow the Iran hostages to cut media deals is a huge blunder.

Faye Turney, the only woman in the crew, has agreed a joint deal with the Sun and ITV’s Tonight With Trevor McDonald for close to £100,000.

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The Guardian quotes former Colonel Tim Collins, who commanded the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment in Iraq, and made that “eve of battle speech” he is I think spot on.

“This episode has brought disgrace on the British armed forces and it comes from complete ineptitude at the top.”

When did the MoD begin to sanction serving troops selling their stories? What kind of precedent does this set? The 15 should have been offered all the help they needed to quietly return to duty as so many before them have done.

Britain lost four men and women in Basra on the day these people were released and their families will get next to nothing.

The mother of a 19-year-old service-oman killed in Iraq yesterday condemned the Ministry of Defence for letting 15 freed sailors and Marines profit from media interviews.

Sally Veck, the mother of one of those four killed, 19-year old medic, Eleanor Dlugosz, told The Times: “If you are a member of the military, it is your duty to serve your country. You should do your duty and not expect to make money by selling stories.”

Chris Air, the Royal Marine captain freed by Iran, said that although he did not plan to sell his story he felt that his comrades were entitled to — particularly if it helped them to deal with any trauma.

Turney defended the decision of the captives to sell their story, saying: “I want people to know the truth about what I’ve gone through, how I dealt with the situation and why.”

Again really what on earth was the MoD thinking? The MoD says it has suspended its usual rules “as a result of exceptional media interest” and with the agreement of the defence secretary, Des Browne.

The Guardian also quotes Mike Aston, whose 30-year-old son, Corporal Russell Aston, was one of six military policemen killed in the early days of the war in Majar al-Kabir, Iraq, understandably he said he was amazed by the MoD’s decision.

“I think to actually sell [my] story it would besmirch my son’s memory.”

UPDATE As Old Peculier has pointed out in the comments below things have taken a bizarre turn. The MoD has now had second thoughts and banned personnel from selling their stories to the media until a review of the rules has been carried out. Horse. Gate. bolted. Make your own sentence.

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