The wheels may grind a little slow, but they do go somewhere, eventually.
I contacted my MP, Lynne Featherstone, about the case of Michael Yon, an indepedent reporter who has done great reporting with both the British and American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is where I blogged about this issue before.
Earlier this year, he was embedded with UK troops. At the end of his embed, he accused the British Ministry of Defense of cancelling his embed prematurely for political reasons.
I asked my MP to try to find out for me whether there was any truth to this.
Here are the relevant passages from the response from Bill Rammell MP, Minister for the Armed Forces:
'Opportunities to embed with Task Force Helmand are in high demand from across the media... It is not possible to meet all requests, and slots must be time-limited to ensure that the opportunities are shared as widely and as fairly as possible. A normal embed for a national news organisation will last on average around two to three weeks, including time to travel.
Micheal Yon has been embedded with British Forces on a number of occasions before his recent visit- twice in Iraq in 2007, and once in Afghanistan in 2008. His latest embed had been scheduled to last for two weeks but we extended it to take account of delays to his arrival.
In all, his stay was extended twice and he was embedded for five weeks- much longer than is normally the case, and longer than had been agreed with him before he went.'
Unless Mr Yon has information to the contrary, it doesn't sound to me like he got a raw deal. Or indeed that his embed was ended prematurely. If anything, the opposite is true. I apologise to the MOD for barracking them without first having checked the facts.
On a slightly different point, I wish I could find the reportage from all these other embeds the MOD say are taking place. Perhaps they could put out a simple list of who has been, and where they publish... just a thought.
There is some interesting info at this link about the whole embed saga: