The U.S.-led war on Iraq and heightened security in the United States resulting from the ongoing fight against terrorism continued in recent months to raise press freedom issues at home and abroad. One concern has been the arrest of a number of journalists by U.S. forces in Iraq. On October 28, Samer Hamza, a cameraman with the Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera, was detained by U.S. soldiers near a Baghdad police station targeted in a violent attack the previous day. He was later released without any official explanation being given for his one-day arrest. Hamza was the fourth journalist known to have been arrested and briefly held by the U.S. military in October. Among the others were Agence France-Presse photographer Patrick Baz and a Reuters journalist, both held for several hours on October 19 at a police station in Fallujah city by Iraqi police, who were reported to have said they acted on the orders of the U.S. military who were looking for someone who had filmed an attack in Fallujah on one of its convoys. New developments were reported in the death of Ukrainian cameramen Taras Protsyuk of Reuters and Spaniard José Couso of the Spanish television station Telecinco, killed when a U.S. tank opened fire on April 8, 2003 on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad where a large number of journalists happened to be housed. US officials have exonerated the U.S. Army from any mistake or error of judgment. The international free press organization Reporters Without Borders on January 15 called for a reopening of an official inquiry into the incident and then announced last month (February 18) that a lawyer acting for it and Couso’s widow had accused the Spanish government of “failing to take any action” to press the U.S. authorities for a thorough investigation into the shooting. Couso’s brother, David, had last May filed a lawsuit in criminal court in Spain accusing three soldiers with the 64th armored regiment of the U.S. infantry division of “murder” and “war crimes.” In another Iraq-related development, in January American cartoonist Ann Telnaes received a number of threats by e-mail after one of her cartoons depicting Iraqi Islamic cleric The Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani appeared in the satire section of the Web site The Iranian, according to a report from the Cartoonists Rights Network, based in Burke, Virginia. Following the detention of an Austrian journalist at Los Angeles International Airport on December 2, the Vienna-based International Press Institute joined the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) and the IAPA in calling on the U.S. Congress to add journalists to the list of professionals that do not need a visa for their stays in the United States. The journalist in question, Peter Krobath, who has a contract as a freelancer with the Austrian movie magazine SKIP, was traveling from Vienna to California at the invitation of Hollywood motion picture company DreamWorks Pictures to participate in a media presentation of the movie “Paycheck.” On landing at the Los Angeles airport he was asked about the reason for his trip and interrogated for almost five hours, then body-searched, had his photograph and fingerprints taken, and later taken handcuffed to an isolation room. From there he was transferred to a downtown Los Angeles jail, where he was held overnight. He was released on December 3 and flown back to Austria. In letters to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, the IPI pointed out that “in recent months numerous foreign journalists have been stopped at U.S. borders, refused entry and deported forcibly to their home countries because they did not have long-term visas.” In many cases, it said, journalists detained by the U.S. immigration authorities “were treated like criminals.” The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers also joined the cry for a change in the U.S. visa regulations to enable journalists to work in the country briefly. On October 23 it told Secretary Ridge of its “serious concern” at mistreatment of journalist Rachael Bletchly of The People newspaper of Britain, who was detained for 26 hours, also at Los Angeles International Airport, handcuffed for a time and then deported. Earlier, last May, six French journalists were detained there for more than 24 hours, handcuffed and body-searched before being deported. On February 25, Human Rights Watch announced that it and two other international human rights groups had been refused by the Pentagon permission to attend and observe military commission trials of detainees at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, despite what it said was the Bush administration’s promise that the commissions would be open to the public. The Pentagon responded to the human rights organizations’ requests by saying that “it intended only to provide seating for select members of the press” and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Human Rights Watch announcement said. It charged that the Pentagon had imposed a gag rule on defense lawyers, allowing them speak to the press only with the military’s permission and that now with its denial of access to human rights groups “journalists covering the trials will be able to talk only to military officials about the proceedings.” The federal grand jury probe into the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame’s identity, leading to its publication in a newspaper column last July, has taken a new turn, with the grand jury wanting records of White House contacts with more than two dozen journalists and news organizations, a report in the newspaper Newsday, of Melville, New York, quoted by The Associated Press on March 5 said. There has, however, been no record of any journalist being subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury. The investigation stems from the mention in a Robert Novak column of the naming of Plame, whose husband is former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a critic of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. The issue of professional secrecy came to the fore in October when a federal judge ordered five journalists to reveal their confidential sources for reports on accusations of espionage against a nuclear scientist at the Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory in New Mexico. The scientist, Wen Ho Lee, spent nine months in prison after being indicted in 1999 but he was freed after the charges were dropped. The judge ordered the five journalists to disclose the identity of their sources to the lawyer acting for Lee in a suit claiming damages from the Energy and Justice departments. They were Jeff Gerth and James Risen of The New York Times; Robert Drogin of the Los Angeles Times, H. Josef Hebert of The Associated Press and Pierre Thomas, at the time with CNN television network. A blow for press freedom was struck among the Native American community on October 23 when the Navajo tribal council voted to free the Navajo Times from tribal government control. The paper is regarded as one of the most aggressive publishing on any Native American reservation. There was a piece of bizarre news recently. It emerged that the Treasury Department has been warning publishers that they face serious legal consequences if they edit in any way manuscripts from Iran and other nations with which the United States has a trade embargo. The grounds: the editing would amount to trading with the enemy. Under the regulation, anyone publishing material from such countries must leave it as it is received, being forbidden to change the order of paragraphs, correct grammar or syntax, fix typos or insert replacement “inappropriate words.” No illustrations may be added – only publication of “camera-ready copies of manuscripts” is permitted. Treasury Department spokeswoman Tara Bradshaw was quoted as confirming the restrictions, saying that banned activities are “collaboration on and editing of the manuscripts, the selection of reviewers, and facilitation of a review resulting in substantive enhancements or alterations to the manuscripts.” The admonitions were contained in a series of letters to publishers from the Treasury Department, a New York Times report said, and concerned material from Iran. But they were believed logically to extend to that from other nations currently under a U.S. trade embargo – Cuba, North Korea and Libya, for example. Commenting on the warts-and-all requirement, the Association of American Publishers called it “a serious threat to the U.S. publishing community in general and to scholarly and scientific publishers in particular.”