National Press Club

National Press Club Condemns Pentagon Barring of Reporters

May 13, 2010

The National Press Club condemned Monday a recent decision by Defense Department officials to ban four reporters from covering military commission proceedings at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The journalists were banned for reporting the name of a witness, even though the person's name was already on the public record.

"The Pentagon decision to bar these reporters is unwarranted, given that the information was already widely known," said Alan Bjerga, president of the National Press Club. "This action serves no purpose other than preventing experienced reporters from doing their jobs."

The journalists are Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald, Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star, Paul Koring of The Globe and Mail, and Steven Edwards of Canwest News Service. They stand accused of violating the presiding judge's directive that a witness be referred to as "Interrogator No. 1" in coverage of the pre-trial proceedings of Canadian detainee Omar Khadr. The interrogator's name had already been released to the public during a court-martial in 2005 and in an interview conducted by Shephard.