Oz mag denies knowingly breaking embargo on Prince Harrys Afghanistan deployment

February 29th, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Feb 29 (ANI): An Australian women’s magazine has dismissed reports that it deliberately broke a media news blackout about Prince Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan.

New Idea magazine has been accused of leaking the news that the 23-year-old prince is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, putting his life in danger.

The story published on the online issue of the magazine in January discussed Harry’s secret tour of duty, apparently breaching a strict media blackout on the story.

The storm blew up only after US website the Drudge Report picked up the story and broadcast it around the world.

Drudge Report website named New Idea as one of two media outlets that had broken a secret deal between the young royal and the press.

When a group of journalists visited the prince in Helmand, they were allowed to interview him only on the condition that details would only be publicised once he was safely back in Britain.

However, a headline still available on New Idea’s website and dated February 14 reads: “Prince Harry Goes To War in Afghanistan”.

Another article, with a January publication date, is headed: “Prince Harry: War Lord”.

Chief of the General Staff and professional head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, was furious the embargo had been broken.

“I am very disappointed that foreign websites have decided to run this story without consulting us. This is in stark contrast to the highly responsible attitude that the whole of the UK print and broadcast media, along with a small number of overseas, who have entered into an understanding with us over the coverage of Prince Harry on operations, Sir Dannatt said.

“After a lengthy period of discussion between the MOD and the editors of regional, national and international media, the editors took the commendable attitude to restrain their coverage, he added.

However, New Idea, based in Sydney, has denied knowingly breaking an embargo on the story, reports the Daily Telegraph.

“New Idea was not issued with a press embargo and was unaware of the existence of one,” the magazine said in a statement.

“The story was published on Monday, January 7. Since then New Idea has received no comment from the British Ministry of Defence.

“We take these matters very seriously and would never knowingly break an embargo. We regret any issues the revelation of this story in America has caused today, the magazine added. (ANI)

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