McClatchy journalist Pentagon banned gets First Amendment Award

McClatchy NewspapersAugust 26, 2010 

WASHINGTON — Carol Rosenberg, The Miami Herald reporter banned by the Pentagon earlier this year from covering military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been awarded the Society of Professional Journalists' First Amendment Award for her efforts to cover the detention center there despite "consistent hostility in covering her beat."

Rosenberg will receive the honor Oct. 5 at the organization's annual awards banquet during its convention in Las Vegas.

Two other people also will be honored: Herschel Fink, a First Amendment lawyer who represented the Detroit Free Press in its push for access to public records that helped prove corruption by disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and David Cuillier, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona School of Journalism who has devoted much of his career to educating fellow journalists on how to access public records through freedom of information requests.

In its announcement of the award, SPJ said that Rosenberg's "expertise has been vital in chronicling opposition to President Obama's order to close" Guantanamo and that "she alone kept close track of Supreme Court-ordered habeas corpus hearings that resulted in release orders and judicial criticism of insufficient evidence that had kept prisoners confined for years."

The announcement also noted that Pentagon officials have repeatedly tried to obstruct her work, including filing a "baseless sex discrimination complaint" against her "in hopes of embarassing Rosenberg."

Rosenberg was one of four journalists the Pentagon banned permanently from Guantanamo in May for allegedly violating ground rules that prohibited the naming of a witness who'd already been publicly identified. Challenged on the constitutionality of such a ban, the Pentagon eventually lifted it and agreed to rewrite its ground rules for journalists covering Guantanamo. The new ground rules have not been made public, however.

The Miami Herald is owned by The McClatchy Company, which also publishes this website.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.

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