A special U.S. Army committee has drafted a proposal that would allow reporters covering military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery to listen in using a microphone, according to a Voice of America report.
The proposal addresses an issue that came to a head in April when Arlington National Cemetery officials forced reporters covering a military funeral to stand at least 50 yards away from the services, even though the service member’s family had agreed to let the media attend the funeral.
In protest of the apparently unwritten policy, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press wrote a letter on May 8 to Thurman Higginbotham, the cemetery’s deputy director of operations, who never directly responded to the letter. In early July, the Army fired former public affairs director Gina Gray, who had been outspoken in favor of allowing reporters better access to the funerals.
The special committee was formed by Army Secretary Pete Geren. The Voice of America report notes that some journalists are already skeptical about the new policy, because reporters would still be cordoned off at a significant distance from the funerals.