In A Letter To Pentagon, Civil Rights Groups Defend Press Freedom
May 25, 2010 by Special To Personal Liberty
Several human and civil rights organizations sent a letter to top officials at the Pentagon demanding the reversal of the ban on several reporters covering military commission hearings of foreign terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay.
The letter was prompted by the ban imposed on four journalists from the United States and Canada for publishing the name of an interrogator in one of the cases.
The four, who include reporters from The Miami Herald, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and Canwest News Service, allege the ban is "illegal and unconstitutional," because the name of the interrogator was already in the public domain, and publishing it did not constitute a violation of the Pentagon’s rules, according to media reports.
In their intervention, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the National Institute of Military Justice said that "this [decision] not only runs counter to the U.S. administration’s stated commitment to transparency in government, but will also bring the military commissions into further disrepute, internationally and within the U.S."
The Pentagon has said the newspapers in question can continue to cover the story, which involves detainee Omar Khadr, but they must send other journalist to do so.