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December 17, 2005

Vehicle For Removal

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(click image for larger view)

What does it take to for an embedded journalist to get the boot?

In this case, reporter Louis Hansen and photographer Hyunsoo Leo Kim of the Virginian-Pilot had their privileges pulled for photographing a damaged humvee at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

Officers of the organization Military Reporters and Editors have protested the action.  In an article in Thursday’s Editor and Publisher, the organization’s President and military writer for the San Antonio Express-News said: “I think the insurgents already know about the vulnerability of the vehicles.”  The organization’s Vice President added that damaged vehicles are depicted on official military websites all the time.

U.S. Central Command acknowledges that no restriction against photographing vehicles existed in the embed code of conduct established in 2003.  It asserts, however, that new rules have been added since then.  (The guidelines are posted by Reporters Without Borders and are believed by most journalists to be definitive.)

Ironically, the two journalists were given specific access to the location of the vehicle by military escorts.

Does this story represent a bureaucratic mix-up, somebody’s power trip, an attempt to crack down on the media, a legitimate security concern, or something else?  Strictly as visual information, does this shot seem to significantly expose the general vulnerability of the humvee, or the specific way this one was undermined?

(Original December 10th Virginian-Pilot story with photograph here.)

(credit: prwatch.org Spin of the Day.)



(image: Hyunsoo Leo Kim/The Virginian-Pilot.December 10, 2005. Camp Arifjan, Kuwait)

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