- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 22, 2005

Koran report

not verified


Newsweek will use anonymous sources henceforth only with the approval of a top editor, the magazine’s editor said yesterday after a retracted report on abuse of the Koran ignited riots in the Muslim world.

?From now on, only the editor or the managing editor, or other top editors they specifically appoint, will have the authority to sign off on the use of an anonymous source,? Richard Smith, Newsweek’s editor in chief, wrote in the edition of the magazine for sale this week.

Newsweek also reported yesterday that a Pentagon review had not found any credible reports of Koran desecration by guards at Guantanamo, although the review did turn up records that said some detainees damaged Korans that were provided to them.

The Defense Department told Newsweek that prison guards’ logs reported three cases in which detainees tried to stuff pages from the Koran down their toilets.

Prison commanders concluded that prisoners who did this were trying to agitate other detainees, the magazine said.

In his letter to readers explaining how news-gathering procedures would be improved after the retracted report, Mr. Smith said the name and position of such a source will be shared with the top editor, and the magazine will try to characterize the source appropriately.

?The cryptic phrase ?sources said’ will never again be the sole attribution for a story in Newsweek,? he said.

Newsweek retracted its May 9 article last week, saying it could not substantiate the report that an internal military investigation had uncovered Koran abuse at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

The retracted article had said interrogators had flushed at least one copy of the Muslim holy book down a toilet to try to make detainees talk. The report prompted violent protests in Afghanistan — where 16 persons were killed — as well as Pakistan, Indonesia and the Gaza Strip.

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