Harry in Afghanistan: How the press reacted to the leak

With 63 pages of national press coverage on Friday alone, and more than 5,000 articles on Google News over the weekend, we thought it was only fair to give you a digest of how the nationals covered the story of its own voluntary news blackout.

The Independent says New Idea, the Australian magazine that broke the story of Prince Harry’s military service in Afghanistan, regretted publishing the story. It said it was “not issued with a press embargo and was unaware of the existence of one”.

The Times asks why Matt Drudge took so long to pick up the story. Prince Harry had been in Afghanistan for 10 weeks before the Drudge Report picked up the news.

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The Financial Times says the MoD initially wanted to impose a DA Notice on the press preventing them from running the story.

But Society of Editors director Bob Satchwell – who negotiated the deal on behalf of 400 editors – tells the Independent on Sunday he rejected this because Harry’s service in Afghanistan was not a matter of national security.

The Telegraph says Jon Snow’s comments about the media blackout have infuriated viewers. Snow praised the Drudge report for bringing the story to the foreground, unaware that Channel 4 was one of the organisations involved in the Society of Editors pact.

The Guardian has added up the number of pages dedicated to the Harry story on Friday. The Mirror was in the lead, with 14 pages and 19 pictures. The Sun came second with 11 pages (including a centre spread poster). Joint third went to the Mail and Express, with 10 pages each.

The Independent on Sunday says PA transmitted “no fewer than 10,490 words” about Harry’s development within an hour of the embargo being broken.

Zoo editor Ben Todd is pleased to see Harry reading a copy of his magazine on the frontline. “What more could a man in a dusty desert wish for?” he tells the Mail on Sunday.



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