Ladies and Gentlemen,
With the recent deaths in Afghanistan it was necessary that the staff of army.ca take measures to mitigate the efforts of some to share casualty information before the official announcements by DND. It was made clear on these means that no official announcement had been made, which was reflected by reports in reputable media sources, and reinforced that the same message was being passed on Army and Regimental nets.
Despite these measures, there remain some who feel that they should cross-post information from any outside source – whether that be personal contacts or media rumours – in order to be the first to post information on these boards. That approach runs against the spirit of being supportive of the troops, and their families, at a time of great personal loss and grief.
In keeping with past practice, army.ca will do its best to respect the wishes of the families of the fallen. In particular, this means that names of wounded or deceased members of the Canadian Forces will not be posted on these forums until after the official news release has been made by DND.
For those who watched recent developments in the media, they will note that errors were published – ranks, appointments – which shows how desperate some members of the media are to “scoop” their competitors without respect for families or facts. I would urge you to think what the repercussions may have been if the errors, in this situation or another, had included names, perhaps leading other families to think their loved ones had been involved. Such an error would be unforgivable, and so would any attempt to share such an unsubstantiated rumour.
There are countless threads on army.ca where the media has been lambasted for their accuracy and ethics. If we allow a similar lack of respect in such situations, then our stance is weakened every time our members use similar tactics.
If we wish to declare ourselves in control of the moral high ground, we actually have to occupy it.