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Cameramen still angry for being denied right to shoot

Date Posted: 2004-10-28

Fallout from the August crash of a Marine Corps helicopter onto Okinawa International University campus continues.

Cameramen restricted from filming and reporting from the scene are becoming more vocal about violation of their rights to film. At the August 13th crash site in Ginowan, American Military Police blocked the photographers, telling them “Don’t take pictures.”

Japan’s foreign minister at the time, Junko Kanaguchi, said in September Americans were within their rights. “We can’t refuse, under the SACO agreement, that if the military decides not to allow pictures, and if the American want to confiscate the film, we have to give it to them.”

At the same time, American military officials have acknowledged that “if the accident happens off base, we can’t restrain photographers or confiscate their film,” and that’s stirring the photojournalists against the foreign ministry. The military does stand firm in saying “the military can restrict off-base cameramen or writers from specific information on equipment, marts, procedures or injuries to military personnel.”

In the case of the August helicopter crash, the military insists it wasn’t restraining cameramen, but rather, requesting their cooperation.

The photographers had been bared from shooting pictures of the helicopter, and also of parts and debris scattered around the Ginowan neighborhood near the crash site.

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