Opinion Piece (Article)

http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/secret-state-members-armed-forces-must-notify-press-officers-even-if-they-meet-journalist-socially

https://news.vice.com/article/uk-defense-staff-must-now-report-contact-with-journalists-even-a-chat-at-a-party

Members of the armed forces have now been told that they have to contact the Ministry of Defense press officers and record conversations if they are meeting with a journalist, or anyone close to the media, even socially.

This is a good idea because it means that journalists will not get any member of the armed forces secretly passing on stories from inside the MOD that could get them fired from the forces. This allows a restriction on the stories journalists can publish, but also works with the Official Secrets Act that every soldier has to sign when they enlist. This maintains privacy and means any information regarding new military operations or weaponry stay within the forces and the hands of the MOD.

However, this is not a good idea because some soldiers have family or friends who have studied media or journalism at school/college/university, and therefore they are technically trained as a freelance journalist, or as a freelance in the media industry, or have contacts within journalism or the media industry. This means that the soldier would have to inform press officers every time they met their friend, or went home to see their family, and there would be a big issue with privacy in family or social life, especially if everything was recorded. It would also mean that the soldier could not tell their family anything about any operations they are going on, or any information regarding their job, which would cause many secrecy problems within the family.

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