Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee

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The Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee is a British advisory body established in 2015 which oversees a voluntary code which operates between the government departments which have responsibility for national security and the media.[1]


Preceding organisations:

  • Admiralty, War Office and Press Committee, 1912-1919.

An Assistant Secretary of the War Office and Mr. Robbins, the representative of the Press Association, were joint Secretaries. Letters, or telegrams, were sent to editors when agreed. They came to be known as "Parkers" after Mr. Parke who was then the representative of the Newspaper Proprietors' Association on the Committee. This evolved into the D-Notice system.[2]

  • Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry and Press Committee, 1919-1939
  • Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry and Press Committee, 1945-1967

Admiral George Thompson, who had been the Chief Press Censor during the war, became the Secretary of the committee in 1945.

  • Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee c.1967-1993

Vice Admiral Sir Norman Denning was appointed Secretary in 1967

  • Defence, Press and Broadcasting Committee, 1993-2015

The records of the committees are held in the British National Archives.[3]

The Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee issued DA-Notices from 1993 to 2015. The secretary was a former two-star military officer employed from a Ministry of Defence budget and is housed by them (although technically independent) and the committee is made up of senior civil servants and representatives of national media organisations.


The committee consisted of five government representatives and 16 media representatives. The five government positions on the committee were all ex officio - the chairman being the current Permanent Under Secretary of the Ministry of Defence. The 2nd Permanent Under Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary, the Permanent Under Secretary of the Home Office and the Deputy Under Secretary from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were the other officers. The Vice Chairman was chosen by the press members from among their number.

The media representatives were nominated by the following organisations:[4]


On 25 November 2010, the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee sent DA-Notices to UK newspapers[5] regarding an expected major publication by WikiLeaks of a "huge cache" of United States (US) diplomatic cables.[5] Index on Censorship presented this as part of "a harm minimisation strategy the US government has embarked on [with] an impressive briefing campaign, reaching out to allies across the world."[5]


  1. ^ "Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee". Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  2. ^ "History of the DSMA-Notice System". Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice System. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee and predecessors: Unregistered Papers". National Archives. National Archives. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". The DA-Notice System. 27 November 2008. Archived from the original on 23 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  5. ^ a b c Butselaar, Emily (26 November 2010). "Wikileaks: UK issues DA-Notice as US briefs allies on fresh leak". Index on Censorship. Retrieved 26 November 2010.

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