The international press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres has accused US and British coalition forces in Iraq of displaying "contempt" for journalists covering the conflict who are not embedded with troops.
The criticism comes after a group of four "unilateral" or roving reporters revealed how they were arrested by US military police as they slept near an American unit 100 miles south of Baghdad and held overnight.
They described their ordeal as "the worst 48 hours in our lives."
"Many journalists have come under fire, others have been detained and questioned for several hours and some have been mistreated, beaten and humiliated by coalition forces," said the RSF secretary general Robert Menard.
The four journalists–Israeli Dan Scemama and Boaz Bismuth and Portuguese Luis Castro and Victor Silva–entered Iraq in a jeep and followed a US convoy but were not officially attached to the troops.
US military police seized the journalists outside their base and detained them even though they were carrying international press cards.
The group claimed they were mistreated and denied contact with their families.