MoD blasts Sunday Telegraph's 'offensive' dead soldiers cartoon

Dominic Lawson: won’t apologise

Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson has received a complaint from a military adviser at the Ministry of Defence about a Trog cartoon portraying coffins of dead soldiers.

The adviser, Lt. Col Ed Brown, the army’s representative in the press office, wrote a personal letter to Lawson expressing distaste and disgust at the cartoon, published on 7 November.

By this time, the Black Watch had already suffered the loss of three soldiers.

Brown asked for an apology but this was not granted. He would not comment, other than to say: “I am enormously disappointed that somebody has seen fit to leak this to Press Gazette.”

But insiders say the feeling within the department is that it was better to have at least made a complaint in the hope that next time it would make journalists think twice before publishing something that causes deep offence to families who have lost their relatives for the sake of the nation.

“If an embedded journalist had been killed yesterday, how would you feel if we published in our Soldier magazine a cartoon showing dead journalists? I think you would find that enormously distasteful,” said one.

Trog’s cartoon: paper refuses to back down after military complaint

Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson was quick to defend Trog, the British Press Awards cartoonist of the year.

The drawing was poignant, he said, and Trog’s target was the Prime Minister, not the armed forces.

He did not believe Brown’s assertion that the cartoon had given “enormous offence to all professional soldiers everywhere”.

Lawson has had some letters criticising the cartoon as being very upsetting for the relatives, but none from anyone intimately connected with the deaths.

“If one of the relatives of one of the victims wrote to express outrage I would be happy to apologise to that person.

“But I am certainly not going to apologise to the armed forces or the MoD or Geoff Hoon,” said Lawson.

He thinks Hoon and the MoD press office have decided the Telegraph titles are the enemy, not Iraqi insurgents.

By Jean Morgan

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