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WASHINGTON — British Ministry of Defense officials will limit their troops blogging about operations and conditions in Iraq, but insist the moves aren’t designed to censor dissent among the ranks.

The regulations require all British military personnel to seek commanders’ permission before posting online any stories, pictures or video of “official duties” related to their service. The same limits also apply to talking with the press, speaking at public events and even text messaging.

After reporters from the London-based Guardian newspaper broke the story of the blogging limits on Friday, ministry officials issued a statement saying the move was simply an update of existing policies.

“It is nonsense to suggest that the MOD is attempting to ‘gag’ personnel,” ministry spokesman Simon MacDowall said in the statement. “A routine instruction has merely been refreshed and reissued.”

In April, U.S. Army officials issued new limits on soldiers’ blogs, requiring they consult with their commanders and operational security officers before posting any information online.

At the time officials said the move was necessary to help prevent classified information from being released to the public.

U.S. defense officials also have issued numerous warnings to all deployed personnel not to post or share sensitive material, like pictures of roadside bomb attacks, images of troops killed in action, or shots of base security measures.

Ministry officials echoed those warnings, saying the updated rules help remind all military personnel that they are facing “enemies who we know monitor what we say and look for new ways of attacking our forces.”

But MacDowall also emphasized the regulations only cover work-related issues, and troops are not required to get permission to speak with the press or write their opinions or topics unrelated to their military service.


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