What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Freedom of Speech and Press : A vote on passage of a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) requiring that the Defense secretary develop a protocol that permits media coverage of the return to the United States of coffins containing the remains of members of the armed forces who died overseas. (2004 senate Roll Call 132)
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A vote on passage of a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) requiring that the Defense secretary develop a protocol that permits media coverage of the return to the United States of coffins containing the remains of members of the armed forces who died overseas.
senate Roll Call 132     Jun 21, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) offered by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) would require that no later than 60 days after enactment of the underlying bill, the Defense secretary develop a protocol that permits media coverage of the return to the United States of coffins containing the remains of members of the armed forces who died overseas. The Bush administration has blocked the media from photographing these images. However, the amendment was rejected 39-54, meaning the media will continue to be barred from photographing the coffins of military personnel killed in Iraq. Progressives supported the Lautenberg amendment, saying the American people deserve to know and see the truth about the cost of the war in Iraq. Said Lautenberg: "My amendment will bring an end to this shroud of secrecy cloaking the hard, difficult truth about the war and the sacrifices of our soldiers." He added, "Our soldiers are fighting for democracy, fighting for a free press in Iraq." But while progressives argued that the White House is censoring the press, conservatives insisted it would be disrespectful to photograph the flagged-draped caskets of soldiers killed in Iraq. However, Lautenberg said, his amendment would have ensured that that the media coverage would be done "respectfully," and specifically states that the new media coverage protocol "must preserve the dignity of the occasion and protect the privacy of the families."

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