Reuters Editor Comments on WikiLeaks Video, Pentagon Can’t Find Its Copy

Two new developments on Monday’s WikiLeaks video of U.S. military personnel killing 12 people — including two Reuters reporters, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh — in Iraq in 2007.

First, Reuters has published an email from editor in chief David Schlesinger concerning the video. Schlesinger says that the video is “important to watch” and is a testament to the dangers faced by war-zone reporters.

Second, the Associated Press reports that the Pentagon is having trouble finding its own copy of the video:

Capt. Jack Hanzlik, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said that the military has not been able to locate the video within its files after being asked to authenticate the version available online.

“We had no reason to hold the video at (Central Command), nor did the higher headquarters in Iraq,” Hanzlik said in an e-mailed statement. “We’re attempting to retrieve the video from the unit who did the investigation.”

After the jump, an excerpt from Schlesinger’s email to Reuters colleagues concerning the leaked video.

I believe that we as an organization and I as an individual must fight for journalists’ safety. I will continue to campaign for better training for the military — to help as much as possible to teach the difference in form between a camera and an rpg or between a tripod and a weapon. I will continue to press for thorough and objective investigations. I will continue to insist that governments the world over recognize the rights of journalists to do their jobs. I will continue to ensure that our rules and operating procedures are the safest in the industry.

In this particular case, Tom Glocer and I want to meet with the Pentagon to press the need to learn lessons from this tragedy.

These stories are not easy for us to report or to be involved in. They test our commitment to viewing events and actions objectively.

What matters in the end is not how we as colleagues and friends feel; what matters is the wider public debate that our stories and this video provoke.

Publish date: April 7, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT