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Secrecy and the Media : The Official History of the United Kingdom's D-Notice System - Nicholas John Wilkinson

Secrecy and the Media

The Official History of the United Kingdom's D-Notice System

Hardcover Published: 26th May 2009
ISBN: 9780415453752
Number Of Pages: 656

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Secrecy and the Media is the first book to examine the development of the D-Notice system, which regulates the UK media's publication of British national security secrets. It is based on official documents, many of which have not previously been available to a general audience, as well as on media sources.

From Victorian times, British governments have consistently seen the need, in the public interest, to prevent the media publishing secret information which would endanger national security. The UK media have meanwhile continuously resisted official attempts to impose any form of censorship, arguing that a free press is in the public interest. Both sides have normally seen the pitfalls of attempting to resolve this sometimes acrimonious conflict of interests by litigation, and have together evolved a system of editorial self-regulation, assisted by day-to-day independent expert advice, known colloquially as the D-Notice System.

The book traces the development of this system from nineteenth-century colonial campaigns, through two world wars, to modern operations and counter-terrorism in the post-Cold War era, up to the beginning of the Labour government in 1997. Examples are drawn from media, political and official sources (some not yet open), and cover not only defence issues (including Special Forces), but also the activities of the secret intelligence services MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. These cases relate principally to the UK, but also to American and other alliesa (TM) interests.

The story of how this sometimes controversial institution now operates in the modern world will be essential reading for those in the media and government departments, and for academics and students in the fields of security, defence and intelligence, as well as being an accessible exposA(c) for the general reader.

Nicholas Wilkinson served in the Royal Navy 1959-98, and from 1999 to 2004 he ran the independent Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee. He was a Press Complaints Commissioner from 2005 to 2008, and is a Cabinet Office Historian.

Industry Reviews

'An important and absorbing book, surprisingly amusing at times for an official history. Admiral Wilkinson charts the troubled history of the D-Notice system, that great British compromise between national security and freedom of the press, and shows how it has been tested almost to destruction in peace and war over the past century, yet somehow survived. The D-Notice system is much misunderstood, even by journalists: this book will dispel many myths and provide an indispensable reference point for future debates.' Donald Trelford, former Editor of The Observer, Emeritus Professor in Journalism Studies at Sheffield University 'This book is a 'must'-read for all journalists, espionage writers and other aficionados of the intelligence scene, historians and citizens who cherish the right to know, within the bounds of reasonable security, what is being secretly perpetrated in their name.' H. Chapman Pincher, journalist, author 'Nick Wilkinson has done us all an enormous service and at a crucial moment in history. Like all great stories, this one is fascinating, packed with information and facts, and brilliantly tells us about the struggles between Whitehall and the media. This is not just history for historians but a must for anyone who cares about our freedoms and how they are protected.' Andre Singer, Adjunct Research Professor of Anthropology, University of Southern California 'In an open society there inevitably lies a fault-line where the guardians of national security meet the tribunes of a free press. Nick Wilkinson lived on top of that fault-line for years. It's called the D-Notice System and, in this remarkable book, he takes us deep into that fissure and mines some real gems which illuminate the hidden history of British Government and the Media.' Peter Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary, University of London 'Thoroughly researched!surprisingly readable and packed with intriguing snippets' - James Delingpole, The Mail on Sunday 'The history, written by Rear Admiral Nicholas Wilkinson, one of the more enlightened past secretaries of the Committee, provides telling insights into the relationships between editors and Britain's defence, security and intelligence establishment.' - Richard Norton-Taylor, the Guardian

Preface
Pre -Formation G++ The Long Debate G++ 1880s-1912
Victorian Security and Press Interaction
Regulation of the Press, and the Boer War
Facing the Growing German Threat
Wrangling with the Press
Government Attempts to Litigate
Events Bring Matters to a Head
Formation and Early Modus Operandi of the Committee G++ 1912-14
Establishing the Committee
Establishing Machinery and Procedures
Establishing a Modus Operandi Pre-War
World War I, 1914-18
The Security Context
Censorship
The Press Bureau
Early Interaction Between AWOPC, Press and Press Bureau
Settling Down to a Long War
Approaching the Steady State
Continuing Tensions
The Steady State
The Final Push
Between the World Wars G++ 1918-39
Security Context
Media Context
Early Work of the Committee
Middle Years Lull
Thinking About War Again
Return Towards a War Footing
World War II G++ Suspended Animation G++ 1939-45
The Press and Censorship Bureau
The Practice of Censorship
Towards Peace
Early Years of the Cold War G++ 1945-1967
Security Context
Media Context
Return of the Committee
Beginning of Cold War Considerations
Korean War and Imperial Disentanglement
Equipment Disagreements
Suez Crisis, and G++War PotentialG++
Fallout from the Blake Case, and the Kuwait Crisis
G++War PotentialG++ Again, and the Radcliffe Report
Post-Radcliffe
The 'Lohan' Affair 1967
A Squall Becomes a Storm
Another Radcliffe Inquiry
The Storm Becomes a Hurricane
Rocks All Around
Lohan in the Spotlight, and Radcliffe Bites
Clearing up the Damage
Latter Years of the Cold War, and Northern Ireland
Security, Political and Media Contexts
Revision of the Notices 1971, and Early Caswork
Impact of the IRA Campaign
Wider Concerns about the D-Notice System
The DPBC Review 1981-82
Falklands Conflict 1982
Back to Routine Business
The 'Zircon' and 'My Country Right or Wrong' Controversies
Reform of the Official Secrets Act
Business as Usual Again
Post -Cold War, 1991-97
Iraq, Terrorism, Modernisation
D-Notice Review, and Spook Mania
Books, Avowal, and the Chinook Crash
Special Forces, Former Yugoslavia, Inadequate DA- Notices
Media Discomfort, Northern Ireland, Early Website and a Books Mountain
Quo Vadit?
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415453752
ISBN-10: 0415453755
Series: Whitehall Histories: Government Official History
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 656
Published: 26th May 2009
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 1.23
Edition Number: 1

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