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Journalist dismissed from embed status loses suit against military officials

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  1. Prior Restraint
The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., dismissed a freelance journalist's challenge last week to a U.S. Army decision to…

The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., dismissed a freelance journalist's challenge last week to a U.S. Army decision to terminate the reporter's embed status with military in Afghanistan.

The Army had found that the journalist, Wayne Anderson, had published a video in 2010 showing the faces of wounded American soldiers on The Washington Times website in violation of rules governing embedded reporters. Anderson sued five military officials, claiming, among other things, that they violated his free speech and due process rights by ending his position in Afghanistan without a meaningful hearing.

The court held that two of the defendants were not liable because they did not participate personally in the alleged wrongdoing. The three other defendants, the court found, were entitled to qualified immunity because Anderson did not show that they violated a clearly established right. The court also noted that its discussion of the merits of the case was not required because Anderson had made the procedural error of serving the defendants with the lawsuit in an improper way.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a letter in May arguing that Anderson had alleged enough facts to state a case for content-based discrimination on speech and that the constitution requires that he get a meaningful hearing.