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Should Harry have gone?

By Jon Snow

Updated on 28 February 2008

The debate about whether Harry in Afghanistan raged both on air and in our email inbox. Read some of the thoughts from viewers here.

The revelation that Prince Harry was in Afghanistan sparks many questions over whether he should be there, and if the media should report it, which was picked up in our studio debate.

We were joined by Bob Satchwell, Director of the Society of Editors, who brokered the media blackout; former Shadow Homeland Security spokesman Patrick Mercer is in our Westminster studio and with us in the studio was former army officer Amyas Godfrey to discuss the issue.

Watch the debate here.

We've published some of your emails below. Send your thoughts to

'I will NEVER watch Channel 4 news again! EVER!!!'
Sue Smith, Coventry

Your emails

"I have long admired Channel 4 news & Jon Snow for their independently minded stance. Particularly true throughout the run up to Iraq & the subsequent Hutton enquiry.

However, tonight's show talking about a "conspiracy of silence" and the email from Jon saying

"I never thought I'd find myself saying thank God for Drudge. The infamous US blogger has broken the best kept editorial secret of recent times. Editors have been sworn to secrecy over Prince Harry being sent to fight in Afghanistan three months ago"

Is so far beyond the pale I will NEVER watch Channel 4 news again! EVER!!!

By these standards you would have been notifying Hitler of all our secrets.

SHAMEFUL. Utterly, utterly SHAMEFUL." -
Sue Smith, Coventry

"Please Channel 4 News will you refrain from so much sutff about royal soldiers. It is boring and relatively unimportant. There are far more interesting and essential things going on." -
Lindy Williams, North Yorkshire

"Just because a royal prince wanted to go and play wargames the greatest ever (I hope) conspiracy to conceal the truth from the British public was perpetrated. If he gave a damn about fellow soldiers he simply would not have gone. The Royal family have restrictions on what they can and can't do - it comes with the money, the castles and the clout to silence the whole of the British press. "
- Helena Forsyth, Edinburgh

'Please continue to raise intelligent debate that I don't have to agree with for the sake of an era that seems to have passed'
- Ethel

"Jon Snow in one absolutely idiotic, thoughtless, stupid statement has just lost C4News one viewer. At least. To compare the actions of the British governemnt AND the British media with those of Russia & China is to me the height of crassness. Goodbye"
- Ian

"Quite interesting to see that somewhere during the clip we see Harry in a cap with the US flag emblazoned on it and body armour with the German Eagle emblazoned on it too. At least it proves he is definitely being treated like every normal person, as usual the British army can not afford the right equipment for the Boys including the Prince so even the Prince has to get his own kit." -

"I consider the breaking of the news on this web site to be an absolute diisgrace, putting at even greater risk not only Prince Harry but all others who serve in this theatre. They have the courage to go and serve our country and they should be afforded every cooperation. Your much vaunted freedom of the press comes a very poor second to the sight of possible British troops returning home in coffins. I consider you a complete and utter disgrace."
- J.B Luckey.

"Jon Snow IS the best journalist on TV and Channel 4 News is our regular first choice viewing. However I cannot believe Jon's rant about the media agreement to keep Prince Harry's deployment in Afghanistan secret.

Quite simply I was delighted to learn that the British media have displayed a (too rare) sense of responsibility on this. Splashing the story would have done (as it turns out has done) no good to anyone at all. It is all too sad, and maybe inevitable, that some websites have irresponsibly leaked the story prematurely.

I'm sorry Jon, Royal stories seem to be your Achilles heel. Please, please get some perspective on this and stick to the normal balanced reporting that we appreciate so much." -
Hugh Mellor

"John Snow is brilliant! Not petulant and certainly not treasonous - but, rather, objective and a master of ethical and competent journalism!" -
Rob Davis

"Classic Jon Snow. Asking important questions and maintaining C4s fierce uniqueness." -
Aaron Silverman

"Did you have to devote the whole bloody programme to this story? I thought you were left of centre - not sponsored by the bloody Queen!" -
John Richards

"I admire Channel Four news as normally being the most authoritative of any on TV, and Jon Snow as being the best television journalist.However, on this occasion, Jon's line of questioning was completely wrong and, if not treachery, was utterly unhelpful." -
Gordon Taylor

"I support your angle on the Prince Harry in Afghanistan story. In my eyes the real news is that the entire british media colluded to keep the story quiet. Channel 4 news is the only mainstream TV news programme that attempts investigative journalism rather than simply reading out press releases. Keep up the excellent work," -

Jonathan Napier, Brighton

"Treason? Balls! Your ability and inclination to ask the awkward questions makes you and the likes of John Simpson the best. I'm sure you know that already though. Some viewers can't see the wood for the trees - how else are you going to have a debate about it?"
John Parkes, London

"Thank God for Jon Snow and Channel 4 news. I was already bored to death with hearing about Helmand Harry after mere few hours of total coverage on BBC and Sky. I usually watch C4 news to get a different perspective and Jon delivered, with the only really interesting angle on this story - how such a secret can be kept by every editor in the UK, including we heard every regional newspaper editor. And what would we say if this happened in Russia. The only bit missing is the mechanics of this cover up - when a returned troop sent his phone pics of Harry to his local paper how far did the story get up the line before it was censored, and by who?" -

"As a retired journalist, may I say a big thank you to Jon Snow for refusing to kow-tow to the notion that editors have behaved properly over the deployment of Prince Harry in Afghanistan. In fact, their craven silence at the behest of the Establishment undermines the very core of press freedom." -
David Isaacs

"Well done to channel 4 news for broadcatsing the Harry story - that you have received critical e-mails for this action shows the state of freedom of speech in this country - people actually want to be censored(!) May you long continue to break contoversial bits of information that you would only otherwise get online or by pointing your dish at a more democratic country's satellite. Please continue to raise intelligent debate that I don't have to agree with for the sake of an era that seems to have passed." -

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