Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gagging the Canadian Military

The Ottawa Citizen reports that the Canadian Forces is requesting that its wounded members sign a form prohibiting them from criticizing the military on social media. The request comes from the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU), which oversees support centres across the country with the aim of helping wounded soldiers. Their policy is intended to provide education to its "members and personnel on what constitutes the appropriate and inappropriate use of social media and the possible ramifications for a CAF member" (Pugliese).

Critics contend that the policy stifles freedom of speech and may "intimidate those who were injured and prevent them from speaking out about ill treatment," and that while military personnel are not required to sign the form, "most would feel compelled to do so . . . [and] if they step out of line and make controversial comments about how they have been treated by the Canadian Forces, the signed form would be among the first items introduced at their court martial" (Pugliese).

In its defense, the JPSU argues that "inappropriate use of social media has serious ramifications for the Canadian Forces as it can erode public trust and 'destroy team cohesion'" (Pugliese).

One question here is whether there has already been an erosion of trust between the Canadian Forces and its members.

1 comment:

PROTOCOL ALPHA said...

I think the Canadian Forces should first begin performing their own security clearances and NOT relying on CSIS versus worrying about "team cohesion". I guess it comes down to priorities, protecting national secrets or the feelings of team members. Doesn't take much to figure this out.