Iraqi journalists Bribed?NYT bureau chief sorry for 'blanket' statement

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NYT's Rod Nordland tweeted this picture of money he said was given out to journalists attending an Iraqi press conference (Credit: Twitter)

New York Times foreign correspondent and Kabul bureau chief Rod Nordland apologized June 30 after tweeting that Iraqi journalists were paid off by the army, the Huffington Post reported.

“I would like to apologize to any of you who felt my criticism of bribe-taking by some of your colleagues was intended as a blanket condemnation of all Iraqi journalists,” he wrote in a letter he shared on Twitter.



iMediaEthics asked Nordland what prompted his apology. He wrote by e-mail, “mistranslations that suggested I thought all iraqi journalists were corrupt.”

We also asked if he’s seen journalists being paid at other Iraq press conferences.

“I’ve since heard that it’s very very common,” he responded.

In the apology statement, Nordland claimed his comments “were intended as satirical and directed against what I would hope is a small group who are willing to accept such payments.”

He added, “I have worked with many Iraqi journalists over the years, and am doing so now, and have found most of them honest and above reproach, and would never have made any comment intended to include them in my criticism. Please accept my sincere regrets for any offense I have given to all of you who are blameless.”

In one tweet, Nordland claimed the “entire press corps bribed.” As evidence, he showed a picture of an envelope with cash in it.



He added that he’s “returning” the cash, but “not a single colleague rejected it.”



Each journalist was paid 25,000 Iraqi dinars, which is about $20 he wrote.


Nordland told iMediaEthics the other two Times employees at the conference were an Iraqi translator and a photographer. In his tweets, he said they returned the money.


Further, he noted that at the conference, Gen. Atta only “took three questions.”



In a June 30 tweet, he clarified that he wasn’t slamming all Iraqi journalists, just the ones who are bribed.



Adding to his comments about the payments, Nordland tweeted June 30:




iMediaEthics has written to the New York Times  to ask what prompted the apology and if it approved Nordlund’s statement before its release.

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Iraqi journalists Bribed? NYT bureau chief sorry for ‘blanket’ statement

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