MoD backs down on ITN embed ban

The MoD has backed down on its threat to ban ITN reporters from embedding with British troops.

The news comes a day after ITN editor-in-chief David Mannion blasted the MoD on the front page of Press Gazette.

ITN was told that its reporters were subject to ban after a news report which was critical about the way wounded British troops are treated.

Mannion told Press Gazette: “The current disagreement between us and the MoD is not just a regular spat between a media organisation and a Government department. It is a deeply serious issue, which strikes at the very heart of our democracy.

“ITN has been the recipient of a punitive and unjust punishment for a ‘crime' it did not commit. The MoD press office has behaved like an apparatchik of a one-party state. It is an issue which troubles me deeply and one, I suggest, which should trouble every journalist.”

Today ITN released a statement saying: “ITN has today been given assurances by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that there are no further restrictions on access by ITN journalists to embedded reporting facilities to cover British military operations in Afghanistan and other conflict zones.

"ITN has given reassurances to the MoD that it will always report in a fair and accurate manner.”

ITN chief executive Mark Wood said: "We are delighted to have reached agreement with the MoD so we can all move on. We aim to provide the best possible coverage of the activities of Britain's front-line forces for the benefit of the viewing public. We can all now concentrate on achieving that.”

Wood said that ITN acknowledged the MoD had continuing concerns about the tone of the series of ITV News reports on wounded soldiers. At the MoD's request, ITN has said it will review the way the reports were presented.

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