Socialist Worker

Ministry of Defence gags soldier’s grieving mother

by Liv Lewitschnik and Phil Turner
Issue No. 1923c

“THEY HAVE lied and lied and lied—and they are continuing to lie”.

This is what David Miller, the editor of Tell Me Lies, told the meeting on “The lies of war— exposing propaganda and fighting censorship”.

Miller also revealed that the government is trying to gag Rose Gentle.

She is the mother of soldier Gordon Gentle who was killed in Iraq. She is currently suing the Ministry of Defence over her son’s death.

On 3 September, the Ministry of Defence issued a D notice about her case.

D notices are government orders which are issued to media outlets. They warning the media off reporting certain things.

The notices are voluntary, but in practice they are rarely breached. And, so far, they have not been breached in this case.

The D notice prevents the press reporting on security measures employed by the British army in Iraq.

The Gentle family had raised some of these issues in a press conference about their fight for justice.

Since the notice was issued, the press have not reported aspects of the case and the action itself has received little coverage.

The issuing of the D notice itself has been ignored, despite the fact that other aspects of Rose Gentle’s campaign have received widespread press attention.

“This has been reported by how many? Absolute zero”, David Miller told the meeting.

“Four national newspapers have written the story up, but it has failed to appear.

“It highlights the need for an independent media.”

David Miller and the others speakers went on to discuss wider issues of media distortions and censorship.

Miller said,“Blair seems unable to tell the truth although his nose is rubbed in death and destruction in Iraq.”

He explained how the deliberate distortions have been put out to the public by the government.

He said, “They are promoting ‘friendly’ information and they are killing ‘unfriendly’ information—and that means journalists who get too close to the truth.”

“The mainstream media is following the government’s lies both in Iraq and also here on the home front attacking asylum seekers and the Muslim community.”

“There is a deliberate campaign going on in the media against Muslims and against the anti-war movement.

“They want to intimidate us and undermine our demand to get the troops back home now”.

Aidan White, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, said that journalists were increasingly becoming victims, as shown by the bombings of Al Jazeera head quarters in Karbul, Baghdad and Basra.

He said, “54 journalists had been killed in Iraq as a way to control and manipulate the media in an ideological battle”

Calls for journalists to end the media’s news black out about waht is really happening in Iraq were made at the meeting

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Article information

Sun 17 Oct 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1923c
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