WASHINGTON — A photograph and videotape of a Texas soldier dying in Iraq published by the New York Times have triggered anger from his relatives and Army colleagues and revived a long-standing debate about which images of war are proper to show.
The journalists involved, Times reporter Damien Cave and Getty Images photographer Robert Nickelsberg, working for the Times, had their status as so-called embedded journalists suspended Tuesday by the Army corps in Baghdad, military officials said, because they violated a signed agreement not to publish photos or video of any wounded soldiers without official consent.
New York Times foreign editor Susan Chira said Tuesday night that the newspaper initially did not contact the family of Army Staff Sgt. Hector Leija about the images because of a specific request from the Army to avoid such a direct contact.
“The Times is extremely sensitive to the loss suffered by families when loved ones are killed in Iraq,” Chira said. “We have tried to write about the inevitable loss with extreme compassion.”
She said that after the newspaper account, with a photograph of the soldier, was published Monday, a Times reporter in Baghdad made indirect efforts to tell the family of the video release later that day. The video was still available for viewing on the Times’ Web site Tuesday night, when the newspaper notified clients of its photo service that the photograph at issue was no longer available and should be eliminated from any archives.
Steve Gilbert notes that the video is still up on the Times web site. (h/t CJ Burch)