"If they think this journalist was not a journalist but an insurgent, then they have to prove it," said Lucie Morillon, the group's Washington representative. "We don't want as a consequence that journalists should be worried about covering insurgents because they'll be arrested by U.S. forces. We need to know (the story) from both sides."
CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said photographing insurgents should not be cause for imprisonment.
"There's no way to cover an insurgency without having contact with insurgents," Simon said. "If we're in an environment where any contact or documentation of activities of insurgents is cause for indefinite detention, that really puts a damper on the work of the press."
The AP's decision to reveal the details of Hussein's detention and its efforts to assist him spurred a new round of debate among bloggers. Conservative critics on the Internet raised questions about Hussein's images months before the military detained him.
Conservative bloggers, such as John Hinderaker at Powerlineblog.com, said news of Hussein's detention confirmed their suspicions that the photographer was working with the insurgents, who wanted their photos to reach the Western media for propaganda purposes.
But Will Bunch, a blogger for the Philadelphia Daily News, said such critics "have no respect for the American principle of a free and unfettered press, no understanding of what a photojournalist does or the importance that uncensored photos can play in the political debate half a world away."
The military has said that Hussein was captured with two insurgents. A native of Fallujah, he worked as a photographer in Fallujah and Ramadi, two centers of the Iraq insurgency.
One of Hussein's photos was part of a package of 20 photographs that won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography last year. His contribution was an image of four insurgents in Fallujah firing a mortar and small arms during the U.S.-led offensive in the city in November 2004.
In its own effort to determine whether Hussein had gotten too close to the insurgency, the AP reviewed his work record, interviewed senior photo editors who worked on his images and examined all 420 photographs in the news cooperative's archives that were taken by Hussein.
Of those, AP executives said, only 37 photos show insurgents or people who could be insurgents, and only four show the wreckage of still-burning U.S. military vehicles. The military in Iraq has often detained journalists who arrive quickly at scenes of violence, accusing them of getting advance notice from insurgents.
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