Reuters Wants Access to Detained Cameraman

Reuters wants access to one of the agency's cameramen being detained by the U.S. military in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

Ali al-Mashhadani, a 36-year-old freelancer who has worked for the news agency for a year, has been held for two weeks without being allowed any outside contact, and Reuters quotes Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill, a spokesman for the U.S.'s detainee operations in Baghdad as saying he will not be allowed visitors for 60 days.

The cameraman's family says that Mashhadani was arrested Aug. 8 after Marines looked at images on his cameras and computer during a general sweep. Schlesinger says Reuters provided published work of the photographer showing gunmen operating in full view of civilians.

"Nothing in his work has indicated activity incompatible with his status as an independent journalist," said the company.

"We are very concerned and dismayed by this unexplained and prolonged detention of a journalist working for us," said Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger, "and urge the U.S. military either to release him or provide a full account of the accusations against him."

Reuters is still trying to find out the results of a U.S. military  investigation into a 2004 incident in which three of its journalists (and a fourth working for NBC) were detained and accused of having advance information of insurgent attacks after they arrived "quickly" at the site of a downed U.S. helicopter.

They were released after three days, but claimed sexual and physical abuse.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.