Thursday, September 28, 2006

Disappearing military blog

I recently stumbled across the blog of an Australian, Ben Dullroy, serving with the ADF in Iraq which, though I only read a few posts, was pretty interesting reading. I subscribed to the rss feed but didn't check back for a while. On noticing a new post, I was disappointed to discover that the new post simply announced that the blog had been deleted.

The story appears to be that Dullroy was advised against continuing his blog as the ADF had no policy governing military blogs (this being gleaned from another blogger, Mike Fitz, who re-registered the blog name to avoid squatters).

I guess, at one level, this is a pretty extreme form of censorship however, I avoid blogging on issues related to my work because, as a public servant, I realise I have access to information that the public don't (some of which is sensitive and not within my discretion to disclose). I guess Dullroy's blog has the potential to compromise military or civilian safety or could provide a clue about the ADF's strategy. This being the case, the ADF need to update their policies to reflect the potential for near immediate and uncensored publishing... but does this mean no room for personal military blogs? As Mike Fitz notes, consider "how letters from Gallipoli are revered by today’s historians."

Interestingly, comments on the (in)actions of the ADF are mixed with at least one commentator, Colleague in Army, criticising Dullroy's actions stating "You should have known better. It took you four years to get a deployment and you did this". Ouch!

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