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Chapter 3
Counterinsurgency Operations


3-77. The media--the printed medium, radio, television, and the Internet--have a vital role in societies directly and indirectly involved in counterinsurgency. The news media and other information networks' increasing availability to societies' leadership, bureaucracies, and populace means members of this news and communication medium have a significant impact on political direction, achieving national security objectives, policy formation, and national will. Media scrutiny of military operations, journalists' desire for immediate footage and onthe-spot coverage of confrontational events, and the increasing contact with units and Soldiers (including embedded reporters) require that commanders and public affairs officers provide guidance to leaders and Soldiers on media relations. The media affect and influence each potential target audience and personnel external and internal to the AO. Speaking with the media in a forward-deployed area is an opportunity to explain what our organizations and efforts have accomplished, but be prepared to field questions regarding perceived negative impacts also. Figure 3-4 contains general public affairs guidelines.

3-78. In addition to these general guidelines, leaders should always consult the public affairs office guidance related to the current operation. (See Appendix C.)

Points to Remember When Doing Media Interviews What to Do When the Media Visits Your AO:
  • Be relaxed, confident, and professional.
  • Be concise: think about what you will say before you speak
  • Avoid using colorful or profane language.
  • Stay in your lane. Confine your discussions to areas in which you have firsthand knowledge or where you have personal experience
  • Deal in facts--avoid speculation and hypothetical questions
  • Label your opinions as opinions. Don't get into political discussions.
  • Stay on the record. If you say it, they'll print it.
  • Don't discuss classified information.
  • Don't argue with the reporter. Be firm, and be polite.
  • Speak plainly. Don't use military slang or jargon.
  • Protect the record. Correct the "facts" if they are wrong.
  • Do not threaten the media representative.
  • Politely move the media to an area out of harm's way where they do not interfere with the performance of the mission.
  • Notify the senior person present so he/she can determine what the media wants.
  • Cooperate with the reporter within the limits of OPSEC and safety.
  • If there are OPSEC or safety concerns that make the interviewing or filming impossible at this time, let the reporter know up front.
  • At no time should a media representative's equipment be confiscated. If you feel a security violation has occurred, notify your chain of command.
  • If you have problems with the media, don't get emotional. Report the incident through the chain of command to the area public affairs officer.

  • Figure 3-4. Example of PAO Guidance Card

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