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NATO Media Advisory

September 7, 2011 — 7 Comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

NATO Media Advisory on the correct use of language in case of armed conflict.
NATO Headquarters 07 Sep 2011

1. This Media Advisory contains recommended guidelines for the use of language by media representatives in their reports.
2. For further information, please visit: http://www.nato.int .

Content:

For enemy forces please use the following approved terms:
The government of [ ] ……………………………………the [ ] regime
Government officials ……………………………………..regime officials / henchmen
President/Prime Minister [ ] ………………………….[ ] / the dictator /ruthless dictator /tyrant
[ ] armed forces …………………………………………….regime forces /mercenaries /snipers
[ ] volunteers …………………………………………………[ ] militia / thugs / regime diehards /regime loyalists
NATO proxies ……………………………………………….freedom fighters/armed civilians

In reporting civilian casualties it is important to follow the following guidelines:
Civilian casualties caused by NATO are always alleged casualties/ unavoidable collateral damage. If in doubt, don’t report.

In any report alluding to civilian casualties it must always be stated that NATO do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties and the target was in all cases a legitimate one.

Civilian casualties caused by the other side are to be reported as the result of deliberate targeting of civilians.

Human Rights Abuses

Media representatives need to be careful in the use of the words massacre, mass grave, atrocity and war crime – these terms are solely for the use of acts committed by the enemy, where they should be used as frequently as possible.
It is important to realise that NATO opponents in this and future wars will inevitably use rape as a weapon of war – all media outlets should ensure that they cover this properly.
In reporting any human rights abuses or war crimes it is considered good journalistic practice to assign guilt to the regime or regime forces. Where evidence suggests otherwise, the use of the word alleged is mandatory.
Any alleged abuses by NATO proxies must be put firmly in the context of
a) They probably didn’t happen
b) The proxy leadership does not approve
c) They are partially justified (revenge, use of mercenaries etc)
It is a frequent tactic of enemy forces to massacre their own people for the cameras.

Weaponry
Weapons used by NATO and those of our allies are targeted and precise. NATO will provide details of successful deployment of weapons systems and it is recommended that media representatives use the manufacturer designated brand names in their reporting.
Weapons used by our opponents are to be described as indiscriminate and their use is invariably a war crime. ANY use of heavy weapons is to be described as use of weapons of mass destruction.
Media should stick to these guidelines even where both sides are apparently using the same weapons and tactics (e.g. use of Grad rocket systems).

Sources
The approved sources of information for media are:
1) Statements by the NATO secretary-general
2) NATO press releases
3) NATO press conferences
4) Briefings by NATO officials
5) Statements of Heads of State of NATO countries
6) Statements by Defence officials
7) Off -the-record briefings from intelligence officials.

Any statements by these sources may be reported as fact.

Media may produce reports based on other sources, but in each case we strongly recommend they contact us to check the story for reliability.
If you have any problems about what to write, please contact NATO press centre and we will provide you with any information required.

Any failure to report according to these guidelines will certainly lead to a loss of privileges and could be regarded as a deliberate attempt to give succour to the enemy by undermining the information war.

For an example of media best practice we recommend the British Broadcasting Corporation .

Guidelines signed off by Admiral James Stavridis (Internet Governor-General) and Luis Moreno Ocampo of the ICC/Psyops Division

This is, of course, not a real media advisory – we don’t need to teach you guys how to do your job!