There seems to have been a lot of excitement recently following the apparent issuing of a “D-Notice” relating to Wikileaks by the Government. Strictly speaking however, no D-Notice has been issued, not least because D-Notices have been known as DA-Notices since 1993.
What has happened here is that the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee have simply reminded editors of the standing DA-Notices which have been in existence for many years and of which most editors should already be aware. There are five standing DA-Notices which can be found on the website of the DA-Notice system. These are:
- DA-Notice 01: Military Operations, Plans & Capabilities
- DA-Notice 02: Nuclear & Non-Nuclear Weapons & Equipment
- DA-Notice 03: Ciphers & Secure Communications
- DA-Notice 04: Sensitive Installations & Home Addresses
- DA-Notice 05: United Kingdom Security & Intelligence Services & Special Services
The idea of this is that most eventualities are already covered and so when the DA-Notice Secretary considers it necessary he can just highlight the standing notices. That is all that has happened here. As the DPBAC website explains, “DA-Notices are not issued for particular incidents. The 5 standing Notices cover various eventualities, and, if necessary, the editor’s’ attention is just drawn by the DA-Notice Secretary to the advice in the appropriate Notice”.
The email from Andrew Vallance is an attempt to ensure that editors are aware of the relevant DA-Notices. There was no Wikileaks D-Notice.