Peter Colwell has written a note in the William Mitchell Law Review titled “If You Are Reading This, You Are Engaged and Aware”: Serving the Diversity of Interests in Blogs Written by Service Members.
Here is an excerpt:
The current regulatory regime governing blogs written by members of the military comes from official policy memoranda, Army Regulation 530-1, Operations Security (OPSEC), and Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) articles. This regime fails to provide clear guidance to service members on what is required of them as bloggers, exactly what material they may publish on their blogs, and what the process is for review of blogs. The result is a perception of arbitrary punishment and a potential threat of “chilling” blogging by service members. Further, the regulatory scheme is centered on security considerations and fails to balance or adequately consider the other interests in blogs written by service members in combat zones.
This Note proposes that congressional legislation is necessary to regulate blogs written by members of the armed forces in combat zones. This legislation should weigh the concerns for operational and national security as well as the interests of service member authors, the military, the public, and the literary and journalist community to which these blogs contribute. Congress should enact a statute that creates a committee of civilian journalists and military officials to conduct reviews of blogs and only allow blog removal by vote. The journalists would have insight into journalistic concerns and ethics as well as the journalistic value of a particular blog, while the military representatives would be able to halt publication of blogs that present genuine security risks. The statute should establish concise guidelines, informed by First Amendment jurisprudence, for the review of the postings to curb the discretion of the committee, and it should require written reports on decisions to shut down a blog.
The cite is 36 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 5249.