Culture of transparency

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 at 0:43 | Posted in Germany, great britain, internet, transparency, video, youtube | 6 Comments
Tags:

A month ago I uploaded to YouTube a funny video featuring German soldiers in Uzbekistan having some off duty fun. I wanted to contribute to the popular footage being accessible in the Internet after receiving information that the German Bundeswehr were anxious to get it down from the web and had apparently succeeded in persuading everybody who had uploaded it before me to take it down.

Shortly after uploading the video I received some anonymous correspondence. The first letter had a somewhat harsh tone. I was outright threatened with legal action with implications to criminal charges.

As soon as the language of those messages was changed from German to English, the tone also shifted to more appealing and conciliatory. The person writing to me implyed to be one of the persons appearing on the video and said it would be “helpful” to get it down. When I promised anonymity in exchange of information on the Bundeswehr activity in the matter I was promptly told that the army had not approached them to get it down.

Had I been convinced that there were real soldiers out there getting in trouble because of the video, I would have been likely to take it down. Since I had information from several sources that the Bundeswehr were indeed making an effort to get the footage out of the web and only one anonymous source saying the opposite I felt I needed some sort of confirmation to do anything. I pointed out that any information passed to me would be priviliged under confidentiality of sources of a journalist.

The correspondence promptly stopped as soon as I wrote back a message saying this. For all I know the person writing to me may have been somebody from the Bundeswehr staff trying to fool me into complying so I decided to leave things as they are. I have not heard anything about it in more that three weeks other than occasional comments added in YouTube, all of which are positive.

In contrast to the German military officials, the British Army seems to be very supportive of their service men’s off duty activities of this sort. This home coming video posted by British soldiers in Iraq is a proof of it: the end titles even appreciate that the local commander was encouraging the project.

I do not know if there is a difference between the British and German senses of humor or in the culture of transparency. Maybe the German forces just feel embarrassed to recognize that soldiers have an off duty life. What I do know, however, is that there is no way to actually pull back something which has been spread allover the Internet.

Edit: There is more to the topic in RA-Blog and StoiBär Blog.

6 Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. […] 7. August 2007 Während sich die deutschen Soldaten scheinbar wegen ihrem Video in die Hose machen und Larko auch schon gebeten haben, das Soldatenvideo aus Usbekistan (Cowboy und Indianer) von YouTube zu löschen, drehen die Briten richtig auf. Sie zeigen uns, wie ein richtiges Musikvideo performt wird, können aber gegen den Klassiker unserer Jungs nicht anstinken. Dafür machen sich die richtig zum Affen und zeigen uns den Weg nach Armadillo! Danke an Larko […]

  2. wow–don’t know what the big fuss is here. looks like a well-meaning, funny video to me.

  3. Hard to say. Could be something as trivial as lacking sense of humor or some other sort of cultural differences. It is certainly not about disclosing military secrets.

  4. […] boosting PR I recently wrote about cultural differences between British and German armed forces in context of video footage of […]

  5. […] Dazu auch noch eine Geschichte zum Video. Offenbar hat die Bundeswehr versucht, das Video aus dem Netz zu kriegen : larko.wordpress.com […]

  6. […] Während sich die deutschen Soldaten scheinbar wegen ihrem Video in die Hose machen und Larko auch schon gebeten haben, das Soldatenvideo aus Usbekistan (Cowboy und Indianer) von YouTube zu löschen, drehen die Briten richtig auf. Sie zeigen uns, wie ein richtiges Musikvideo performt wird, können aber gegen den Klassiker unserer Jungs nicht anstinken. Dafür machen sich die richtig zum Affen und zeigen uns den Weg nach Armadillo! Danke an Larko […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: