US Marines is­sue stricter rules in wake of pic scan­dal

The Star Malaysia - - World -

WASH­ING­TON: Bat­tered by a nude photo-shar­ing scan­dal, the Marine Corps has is­sued a longer and more de­tailed so­cial me­dia pol­icy that lays out the pro­fes­sional and le­gal ram­i­fi­ca­tions for ser­vice mem­bers cul­pa­ble of on­line mis­con­duct.

Among the com­ing changes: a re­quire­ment that all Marines sign a state­ment ac­knowl­edg­ing they have read and un­der­stand the new guide­lines.

The ad­just­ments are made to give lead­ers more lee­way in pros­e­cut­ing or pun­ish­ing of­fend­ers.

For­mer and cur­rent fe­male Marines have re­ported their pho­tographs and those of women in other ser­vices be­ing posted on so­cial me­dia pages with­out their con­sent.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are also look­ing into threat­en­ing and ob­scene com­ments Marines wrote ac­com­pa­ny­ing the images.

The new pol­icy makes it clear how ex­ist­ing rules and the Uni­form Code of Mil­i­tary Jus­tice can be used to pros­e­cute of­fen­sive, in­de­cent or dis­re­spect­ful on­line ac­tiv­i­ties.

But it cre­ates no new laws, un­der­scor­ing the le­gal quag­mire posed by the in­ter­net and the con­straints on mil­i­tary lead­ers posed by pri­vacy laws and the right to free speech.

Re­leased in re­cent days by Gen Robert Neller, the Marine com­man­dant, the Corps’ new guid­ance is one re­sult of the on­go­ing crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Marines should think twice be­fore en­gag­ing in ques­tion­able on­line ac­tiv­i­ties, and must avoid ac­tions on­line that threaten the morale, op­er­a­tional readi­ness and se­cu­rity, or pub­lic stand­ing of their units, or that com­pro­mise our core val­ues,” the pol­icy states, ad­dress­ing any con­tent or com­ments that are deemed defam­a­tory, threat­en­ing, ha­rass­ing or dis­crim­i­nat­ing on the ba­sis of race, color, sex, gen­der, age, re­li­gion, na­tional ori­gin, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or other cri­te­ria. — AP

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