Barry Bearak, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent covering the Zimbabwe elections, was arrested today in the capital city of Harare.
New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller released the following statement (via Radar):
Barry Bearak, a Times correspondent based in Johannesburg, was taken into custody today by police in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he was covering the elections. We do not know where he is being held, or what, if any, charges have been made against him.
We are making every effort to ascertain his status, to assure that he is safe and being well treated, and to secure his prompt release. Barry is an experienced and respected professional who has reported from many places. He won a Pulitzer prize in 2002 for his deeply affecting coverage of daily life in war-torn Afghanistan.
Bearak wrote today's front page story, but requested that the paper withhold his byline for security reasons. The paper later added his byline to the online version of the story, and made the following comment (via Editor & Publisher):
"We withheld Barry Bearak's name at his request as a security precaution," Diane McNulty, Times executive director of community affairs and media relations, told E&P in an e-mail. "But as more Western journalists used their bylines and as the story grew more prominent, Barry felt it was time to use his byline, which appeared in the latest editions of the newspaper."
"I can confirm that we have arrested two reporters at York Lodge for practicing without accreditation," a police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, told The New Zealand Times.
Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, said that Mr. Bearak "was apparently one of a number of Americans and other foreign nationals rounded up today. An American consular official who visited him at the central police station reported that he was being held for 'violation of the journalism laws.' We are making every effort to assure that he is well treated, and to secure his prompt release."