National Press Club

Club Wants Answers On Detained Cameramen

September 22, 2010

The National Press Club called on the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan to clearly explain the detention the week of Sept. 20 of two Afghan cameramen covering events in that country for global news organizations.

The two detainees, Mohamed Nader and Rahmatullah Nekzad, took photos and videos on a freelance basis for Al Jazeera. Nekzad also has worked for the Associated Press.

In a statement to Al Jazeera, the NATO command described the men as "suspected Taliban media and propaganda facilitator[s]" and added: "The insurgents use propaganda, often delivered through news organizations as a way to influence and in many cases intimidate the Afghan population.”

Club President Alan Bjerga called upon the NATO command to more fully explain the reason for the detentions and release the two men unless there is legitimate and demonstrable justification for their incarceration.

“The command’s statement is vague and does not convey that the men did anything unethical, criminal or that would jeopardize coalition forces,” Bjerga said. “Journalists who take unpleasant images in a war zone are not responsible for how belligerents on either side of a conflict may use the images. These cameramen should not be incarcerated for, in effect, doing their jobs.”