[Politech logo]

Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing intersection of culture, technology, politics, and law. Since 2000, so has the Politech web site.

White House instructs TV networks not to air bin Laden videos

[Some folks have already noted that shortwave would be sufficient to carry 
any messages that bin Laden needs to send. Or, for that matter, quotes that 
he might give to a print journalist -- quotations that could give clues to 
what he's thinking or planning. Or aren't reporters supposed to print those 
either? --DBM]

At U.S. Request, Networks Agree to Edit Future bin Laden Tapes
The five major television news organizations reached a joint agreement 
yesterday to follow the suggestion of the White House and abridge any 
future videotaped statements from Osama bin Laden or his followers to 
remove language the government considers inflammatory.
The decision, the first time in memory that the networks had agreed to a 
joint arrangement to limit their prospective news coverage, was described 
by one network executive as a "patriotic" decision that grew out of a 
conference call between the nation's top television news executives and the 
White House national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, yesterday morning.

Wednesday October 10 10:48 AM ET
Terror Statement May Hold Secret Msg.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Colin Powell cautioned on
Wednesday that the statements made by Osama bin Laden's terrorist
organization and broadcast on televisions around the world may
contain ``some kind of message.''

Q So that type of censorship is not under consideration? I mean, you're 
saying this is a war and in previous wars there has been censorship. You're 
saying that
type of thing is not now under consideration at the White House?
MR. FLEISCHER: Keith, that is not censorship. This is a request to the 
media, and the media makes their own decisions. And I think a reasonable 
Q No, you said that you're not in a position to demand. In effect, this 
government is in a position to demand if it wants. Are you guys considering --
MR. FLEISCHER: Okay. If you're asking the legal questions about prior 
we haven't gotten -- that's not been discussed.
Q It's not a legal question. We're asking if real censorship -- I understand
this is just a request -- we're asking if real censorship is under
consideration, demands and not requests.
MR. FLEISCHER: No, there's nothing that I'm aware of like that. This is why 
I'm telling you what Dr. Rice did, because I think you have a right to 
know. It was a request, and I've shared with you what she did.
Q Ari, two things. First, you said that it's tough to get information out 
of Afghanistan right now. By that, are you suggesting that bin Laden and 
the Taliban -- or bin Laden's network has lost the ability to use the 
Internet, for instance, or to pick up a satellite cell phone and use that? 
Secondly, unrelated question. The Vice President's whereabouts we still 
don't know anything about.
What kind of a signal does that send to the American people and to the world,
both about his safety and, frankly, about the President's safety?
MR. FLEISCHER: On the first point, about the ability of Osama bin Laden and 
followers to communicate from Afghanistan, I think the most accurate way to 
it is they face certain challenges in communicating out of their country, 

POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/
To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/

Enter your email address to join Politech, Declan McCullagh's moderated technology and politics announcement list:

Return to politechbot.com