More Saddam Photos Appear as Media Defends Airing Them

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By: E&P Staff

The British tabloid The Sun on Saturday published more photographs of Saddam Hussein in U.S. custody along with two former members of his regime, a day after it and the New York Post, also controlled by Rupert Murdoch, ran a front-page picture of the former Iraqi leader clad only in his underwear.

Meanwhile, many other newspapers, including The New York Times, ran images of yesterday’s Sun or Post front pages in their editions, despite declarations from the International Red Cross and the Pentagon that the photos possibly violated the Geneva accords on treatment. The U.S. military condemned the publication and ordered an investigation of how the pictures were leaked.

The Los Angeles Times ran the underwear image, with Dean Baquet, managing editor, defending its “news value.” He told The New York Times that “we don?t see any ethical reason not to run it. This is clearly a story.”

The New York Times did not explain its decision to run the image on page A3, but the paper ran a story that offered quotes from other outlets defending the idea. The Washington Post carried in its “A” section an up-close photo of a British reader examining the Sun’s front page. Spokesmen at CNN, ABC, and Fox News (also controlled by Murdoch) defended using the photo.

The New York Post today carried the underwear photo on its front page again with the headline: UNDIES PROBED.

Saturday’s new pictures included one of Saddam seen through barbed wire wearing a traditional white Arab robe, and another of the prisoners known as “Chemical Ali” and “Chemical Sally.”

The photos have raised concerns about offending Arab sensibilities and doing further damage to the American image, as well as charges of hypocrisy that some outlets that condemned Newsweek for its Koran abuse story are now disseminating this offending image around the globe.

Iraq’s Al-Mutumar newspaper ran a small front-page picture of The Sun’s cover with Saddam in his underwear while The Azzaman published a larger spread featuring the same front page.

Al-Arabiya satellite television station aired footage of the photographs, though Al-Jazeera did not, citing ethical and professional reasons.

The Sun defended its decision to publish the photos, which it said were provided by “U.S. military sources” it did not identify, who hoped their release would deal a blow to Iraq’s insurgency. Managing editor Graham Dudman told The Associated Press on Friday that the newspaper paid “a small sum” for the photos. He would not elaborate except to say it was more than 500 British pounds, which is about $900.

The U.S. military in Baghdad said the publication of the photos violated its guidelines “and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals.”

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