Barry Leon Bearak is an American journalist and professor of journalism who has worked as a reporter and correspondent for The Miami Herald, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. He also taught journalism as a visiting professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Since August 2011, Bearak has been working for the Sports staff of the New York Times.
Bearak won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his penetrating accounts of poverty and war in Afghanistan. The Pulitzer Prize committee cited him "for his deeply affecting and illuminating coverage of daily life in war-torn Afghanistan.". Bearak was also a Pulitzer finalist in feature writing in 1987.
On April 3, 2008, Bearak was taken into custody by Zimbabwean police as part of a crackdown on journalists covering the 2008 Zimbabwean election. He was charged with "falsely presenting himself as a journalist" in violation of the strict accreditation requirements that were imposed by the government of Robert Mugabe. Despite worldwide condemnation and court petitions that were filed immediately to release him from detention, Bearak remained in a detention cell in Harare for 5 days. On April 7, 2008 Bearak was released on bail by a Zimbabwean court. On April 16, 2008, a Zimbabwean court dismissed the charges against Bearak, saying that the state had failed to provide evidence of any crime, and ordered that Bearak and Stephen Bevan, a British freelance reporter who had also been accused of violating the countryâ€™s stiff journalism laws, be released. immediately following the court ruling, Mr. Bearak left Zimbabwe and returned to his home in Johannesburg." While in detention in Harare, Bearak was badly injured from a fall onto the concrete floor of the detention cell and needed medical attention.