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Last Updated: Monday, 9 April 2007, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
MoD ban on troops selling stories
Faye Turney on ITV1's Tonight
Faye Turney has reportedly struck a deal worth more than 100,000
The Ministry of Defence has banned personnel from selling their stories to the media until a review of the rules governing the issue is completed.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said the review was aimed at making rules consistent across the armed forces.

It follows a row after two Royal Navy crew members held in Iran sold stories.

The handling of events has been criticised by opposition MPs, who say Mr Browne acted too late and lost public sympathy for the captured crew.

Leading Seaman Faye Turney sold her story to ITV1's Trevor Macdonald and the Sun newspaper - reportedly for a six-figure sum, some of which will go to navy families.

Meanwhile Arthur Batchelor, 20, the youngest of the British sailors to be held captive, told the Daily Mirror about his "nightmare" at the hands of his captors and how he "cried like a baby" in his cell.

I want everyone out there to know my story from my side, see what I went through
Leading Seaman Faye Turney

Politicians, former soldiers and some relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq last week have questioned the decision by the Royal Navy to allow the crew to sell their stories.

The mother of Eleanor Dlugosz - the 19-year-old army medic from Hampshire killed near Basra last week - did not criticise the crew, but said her daughter "wouldn't have wanted any monetary gain for herself" for serving in Iraq, "only perhaps donations to Royal British Legion".

Mr Browne said he recognised the dilemma faced by the Royal Navy.

"Should they refuse to give them permission to accept payment, recognising that some of them would find ways to tell their experiences anyway, without the support and advice of their service, and therefore with greater risk to themselves and crucially also at risk to operational security?

"Or should the navy accept that in this particular and exceptional case, and in the modern media environment, they should give permission for these young people to tell their story precisely in order to stay close to them but accepting the consequence of the potential payment involved?"

He said he hoped people would understand it had been "a very tough call" for the navy, but "all of those involved over the last few days recognised we have not reached a satisfactory outcome".

Serving members of armed forces have, in effect, been put up for auction in the most horribly undignified fashion
Liam Fox, shadow defence secretary

Until there was clear guidance for the future, no further service personnel would be allowed to talk to the media about their experiences in return for payment, he added.

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Adrian Johns defended the decision to allow the sale of stories.

"We thought it was very important indeed to let these people tell the story in their own words and through the media," he said.

However, shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said the crew's return home had been "handled appallingly" and the MoD had lost public sympathy for the sailors and marines.

"Serving members of armed forces have, in effect, been put up for auction in the most horribly undignified fashion, something that has not gone unnoticed overseas," he said.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Nick Harvey said the ban came too late and was an admission that the MoD had "completely mishandled the situation".

He also warned the government against using the ban as an excuse to gag personnel from helpful discourse with the media in the future.

'Unsavoury' sale

The crew returned to the UK on Thursday after 13 days in captivity

Both of the officers among the captives have said they do not plan to profit from the story.

Lieutenant Felix Carman, who was among those held, defended Leading Seaman Turney's decision to sell her story.

But he added that he found it "slightly unsavoury" that his fellow captives are being paid to tell their story.

The tragedy is that the relatives of those servicemen/women who have died seem to generate much less interest from the media
Fred, Macclesfield

He later told Sky News that it was a "shame" that the release of the sailors had coincided with the deaths of four UK service personnel in Iraq.

But, of Leading Seaman Turney, he said: "She has taken the money, she is safeguarding her daughter's future. I would like to see what the critics would do in a similar position."

The Sun newspaper has defended its decision to pay for her story.

The paper's defence editor, Tom Newton-Dunn refused to reveal how much she was being paid but said: "She has a right to do this.

"We are a free country. Faye has been through the most extraordinary ordeal, which is clearly graphically illustrated."

In the Trevor Macdonald programme, she defended her decision to sell her story and said a percentage of the money will help the crew and families of HMS Cornwall.

"I want everyone out there to know my story from my side, see what I went through," she told the programme.

She also said that there were times during her two-week ordeal when she cried herself to sleep.

Arthur Batchelor, 20, the youngest of the British sailors to be held captive, told the Daily Mirror: "A guard kept flicking my neck with his index finger and thumb. I thought the worst, we've all seen the videos.

"I was frozen in terror and just stared into the darkness of my blindfold."

Vice Admiral Johns on the sailors selling their stories


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