Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Persian Parable

I guess everyone in the world knows about the fifteen British sailors and marines, who were held captive by Iran for almost two weeks. The Iranians let them go just before Easter weekend. Over this past weekend, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) gave permission for the freed captives to sell their stories to the news media and at least two did so. Normally, under British military regulations, serving military personnel are not permitted to sell their stories to the news media. However, the regulations do allow for exceptions to be made in special circumstances. It would seem that this situation would qualify as "special circumstances."
Unfortunately, after some of the freed captives did sell their stories, quite a few members of the British public and media have expressed outrage that these folks were given permission to sell their stories. One morning radio presenter I regularly listen to went absolutely ape against it, right from the start. Since the weekend, a clear majority of callers to his program have agreed with him that being paid money for their stories was disgraceful. This presenter, as well as some of his callers," have asked that those who sold their stories be forced to give the money back. I have had one question occupying my mind, since the story about them getting paid broke. What's the big deal? One caller who demanded that those who were paid be forced to give the money back, acted like the money was coming from tax payers. It's not. It's a private transaction between some media companies and the people involved. I thought it was a nice way for the former captives to gain a little compensation for what they went through. I actually thought the MoD got it right, for a change. I seem to be in the minority on this one. So much hell has been raised over this that the MoD has felt the need to reverse itself and say that no further sales can be made, at this time.
Maybe I haven't lived in the UK long enough, because I don't get it. Why the outrage? If it would have been okay to give the interviews for free, why the complaints if they get paid? It's common practice, here in the UK, for people to be paid for their story. What do you think?

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Blogger © Karelian Blonde said...

Being a foreigner myself I don't get it either why this is such a big deal. There are definetly some ten times bigger injustices happening in this country and abroad that never made it to the news. This was just a good way to bash the not so good goverment and the elections are on their way. Do the math...

5:10 AM  
Blogger JosephintheBracknell said...

Instead of complaining about these lot selling their story and that others haven't, I would just chnage the "rules" so all the military can. The English can be a funny lot, sometimes.

6:02 PM  

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