The Society of Editors has helped local and national newspapers to report on Prince Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan today.
News of the third in line to the throne’s arrival at Camp Bastion in Helmand was announced at 11am this morning following what the SoE says was “weeks of careful planning.”
A Press Association team and broadcasting pool teams provided breaking news stories, pictures and video with a simultaneous release time so that newspaper websites could reveal the story at the same time as 24-hour news channels.
The Prince’s last tour of service in the war zone in 2007/08 was accompanied by a news blackout – but the SoE sought to broker a deal to enable the latest deplopyment could be reported.
Said the SoE today: “Earlier in the year it was quickly established that a second news blackout of the kind used when the prince was last in the war zone in 2007/2008 would not be appropriate.
A new ‘understanding ‘ was drawn up by the society and the MoD for the approval of all news outlets agreeing that there would be no detailed reporting or speculation about the deployment until the prince had actually arrived.
Executive director Bob Satchwell added: “News organisations kept to the understanding for operational and personal security considerations surrounding Prince Harry and those serving with him.
“They knew for some time that he was likely to be going to Afghanistan but the details were not reported even when the row broke about the Las Vegas naked prince pictures.
“It would have been so easy to say he was partying before flying out to war but the secret was kept until the time agreed.
“The public and the Leveson Inquiry should take note of yet another example of how the media behaves responsibly.”