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Defense department retreats from stringent embed rules

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  1. Prior Restraint
A revised policy for reporters embedded with the U.S. military command in eastern Afghanistan released Thursday retreats from a more…

A revised policy for reporters embedded with the U.S. military command in eastern Afghanistan released Thursday retreats from a more stringent version imposed last month, the Washington Post reports.

Last week, the Reporters Committee reported that the agreement journalists must sign in order to embed with a military unit had been changed to state that "media will not be allowed to photograph or record video of U.S. personnel killed in action."

The revised policy released Thursday states that "media will not be prohibited from viewing or filming casualties; however, casualty photographs showing recognizable face, nametag or other identifying feature or item will not be published."

The Post confirmed the policy revisions were the fallout from a disagreement between the Associated Press and the DOD after the AP published a picture of a Marine who was killed by Taliban insurgents. At the time of the photo, media organizations could publish photographs after the Department of Defense had notified the deceased soldier’s next of kin.

"After that incident, we felt that for the sake of the soldier and the family members that was what we needed to do," Lt. Col. Clarence Counts, a spokesman for the U.S. military command in eastern Afghanistan, told the Post. "In retrospect we may have gone a little too far to the right — so we modified it a little more."