U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 20, 2024

§ 247.4 - Policy.

It is DoD policy that:

(a) A free flow of news and information shall be provided to all DoD personnel without censorship or news management. The calculated withholding of news unfavorable to the Department of Defense is prohibited.

(b) News coverage and other editorial content in DoD publications shall be factual and objective. News and headlines shall be selected using the dictates of good taste. Morbid, sensational, or alarming details not essential to factual reporting shall be avoided.

(c) DoD publications shall distinguish between fact and opinion, both of which may be part of a news story. When an opinion is expressed, the person or source shall be identified. Accuracy and balance in coverage are paramount.

(d) DoD publications shall distinguish between editorials (command position) and commentaries (personal opinion) by clearly identifying them as such.

(e) News content in DoD publications shall be based on releases, reports, and materials provided by the DoD Components and their subordinate levels, DoD newspaper staff members, and other government agencies. DoD publications shall credit sources of all material other than local, internal sources. This includes, but is not limited to, Military Department news sources, American Forces Information Service, and command news releases.

(f) DoD publications may contain articles of local interest to installation personnel produced outside official channels (e.g., stringers, local organizations), provided that the author's permission has been obtained, the source is credited, and they do not otherwise violate this part.

(g) DoD publications normally shall not be authorized the use of commercial news and opinion sources, such as Associated Press (AP), United Press International (UPI), New York Times, etc., except as stated in this paragraph and the following paragraph. The use of such sources is beyond the scope of the mission of command or installation publications and puts them in direct competition with commercial publications. The use of such sources may be authorized for a specific DoD newspaper by the cognizant DoD Component only when other sources of national and international news and opinion are not available.

(h) Overseas Combatant Command newspapers published outside the United States may purchase or contract for and carry news stories, features, syndicated columns, and editorial cartoons from commercial services or sources. A balanced selection of commercial news or opinion shall appear in the same issue and same page, whenever possible, but in any case, over a reasonable time period. Selection of commercial news sources, syndicated columns, and editorial cartoons to be purchased or contracted for shall be approved by the Commanders. Overseas Combatant Command newspapers, news bulletins, and news summaries authorized to carry national and world news may include coverage of U.S. political campaign news from commercial news sources. Presentation of such political campaign news shall be made on a balanced, impartial, and nonpartisan basis.

(i) The masthead of all DoD publications shall contain the following disclaimer printed in type no smaller than 6-point: “This (DoD newspaper, magazine, guide or installation map) is an authorized publication for members of the Department of Defense. Contents of (name of the DoD newspaper/magazine/this guide/this installation map) are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, or (the name of the publishing DoD Component).”

(j) The masthead of DoD CE publications shall contain the following statements in addition to that contained in paragraph (i) of this section:

(1) “Published by (name), a private firm in no way connected with the (Department of Defense/the U.S. Army/the U.S. Navy/the U.S. Air Force/the U.S. Marine Corps) under exclusive written contract with (DoD Component or subordinate level).”

(2) “The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the (Department of Defense/the U.S. Army/the U.S. Navy/the U.S. Air Force/the U.S. Marine Corps), or (name of commercial publisher) of the products or services advertised.”

(3) “Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use, or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron.” If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected.

(k) DoD publications shall not contain campaign news, partisan discussions, cartoons, editorials, or commentaries dealing with political campaigns, candidates, issues, or which advocate lobbying elected officials on specific issues. DoD CE publications shall not carry paid political advertisements for a candidate, party, which advocate a particular position on a political issue, or which advocate lobbying elected officials on a specific issue. This includes those advertisements advocating a position on any proposed DoD policy or policy under review.

(l) DoD newspapers shall support the Federal Voting Assistance Program by carrying factual information about registration and voting laws, especially those on absentee voting requirements of the various States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories and possessions. DoD newspapers shall use voting materials provided by the Director, Federal Voting Assistance Program; the OSD; and the Military Departments. Such information is designed to encourage DoD personnel to register as voters and to exercise their right to vote as outlined in DoD Directive 1000.4. 4

4 See footnote 1 to § 247.1.

(m) DoD publications shall comply with DoD Instruction 1100.13 5 pertaining to polls, surveys, and straw votes.

5 See footnote 1 to § 247.1.

(1) The DoD Components and subordinate levels may authorize polls on matters of local interest, such as soldier of the week, and favorite athlete.

(2) A DoD publication shall not conduct a poll, a survey, or a straw vote relating to a political campaign or issue.

(3) Opinion surveys must be in compliance with Military Service regulations.

(n) DoD newspapers will support officially authorized fund-raising campaigns (e.g., Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)) within the Department of Defense in accordance with DoD Directive 5035.1. 6 News coverage of the campaign will not discuss monetary goals, quotas, competition or tallies of solicitation between or among agencies. To avoid any appearance of endorsement, features and news coverage will discuss the campaign in general and not promote specific agencies within the CFC. Agencies may be mentioned routinely but must not be a main focus of features and news coverage.

6 See footnote 1 to § 247.1.

(o) DoD publications shall not:

(1) Contain any material that implies that the DoD Components or their subordinate levels endorse or favor a specific commercial product, commodity, or service.

(2) Subscribe, even at no cost, to a commercial or feature wire or other service whose primary purpose is the advertisement or promotion of commercial products, commodities, or services.

(3) Carry any advertisement that violates or rejects DoD equal opportunity policy. (See paragraph (j)(3) of this section).

(p) All commercial advertising, including advertising supplements, shall be clearly identifiable as such. Paid advertorials and advertising supplements may be included but must be clearly labeled as advertising and readily distinguishable from editorial content.

(q) Alteration of official photographic and video imagery will comply with DoD Directive 5040.5. 7

7 See footnote 1 to § 247.1.

(r) Commercial sponsors of Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Program events and morale, welfare and recreation events may be mentioned routinely with other pertinent facts in news stories and announcements in DoD newspapers. (See DoD Instructions 1330.13 8 and 1015.2. 9

8 See footnote 1 to § 247.1.

9 See footnote 1 to § 247.1.

(s) Book, radio, television, movie, travel, and other entertainment reviews may be carried if written objectively and if there is no implication of endorsement by the Department of Defense or any of its Components or their subordinate levels.

(t) All printing using appropriated funds will be obtained in accordance with DoD Directive 5330.3.

(u) Although DoD internet web sites are normally discouraged from linking to commercial activities, the commander may authorize an installation web site to be linked to the web site carrying the authorized civilian enterprise publication.