Tag: freedom of the press

Censorship Alert: Orwellian CA Bill Means Reporters Can’t Post Undercover Videos

Censorship Alert: Orwellian CA Bill Means Reporters Can’t Post Undercover Videos

This one is big. It adds to California’s growing reputation as Police State Central.

First we had SB 277, which forced vaccinations on school children. Now we have Assembly Bill 1671, which would make it a crime for journalists to post and report on certain undercover videos, even though they didn’t make the videos.

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Government Spying is “Chilling” Writers’ Freedom of Expression (Project Censored #7)

Government Spying is “Chilling” Writers’ Freedom of Expression (Project Censored #7)

Mass surveillance has “badly shaken writers’ faith that democratic governments will respect their rights to privacy and freedom of expression,” according to a January 2015 PEN America report based on the responses of 772 writers from fifty countries. Reporting for Common Dreams, Lauren McCauley covered not only the PEN America report, but also a July 2014 report by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch indicating that US journalists and lawyers increasingly avoid work on potentially controversial topics due to fear of government spying.

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Newly Published Clinton Email Reveals How Government Manipulates Mainstream Media

Posted by on October 2, 2015 in Corporate Controlled Media, Media & Arts with 9 Comments
Newly Published Clinton Email Reveals How Government Manipulates Mainstream Media

The unclassified staff email to Clinton, released amid her ongoing email scandal, demonstrates not only that the former Secretary of State and her staff were out to discredit Assange, but that the government manipulates media and wields heavy influence over it.

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Charges Against Journalists Raise Troubling Questions About Press Freedom in Ferguson

Posted by on August 12, 2015 in Agencies & Systems, Government, Media & Arts with 0 Comments
Charges Against Journalists Raise Troubling Questions About Press Freedom in Ferguson

“A crime was committed at the McDonald’s, not by journalists, but by local police who assaulted both Ryan and Wes Lowery of The Washington Post during violent arrests. At least we know Ferguson knows how to file charges.”

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Committee to Protect Journalists Report Gauges the Press Freedom Crisis

Posted by on October 12, 2013 in Government, Politics, Whistleblower with 1 Comment
Committee to Protect Journalists Report Gauges the Press Freedom Crisis

It’s nearly impossible to gauge the full impact of harassment of the press. How do you measure the stories that go untold because a journalist felt intimidated? How do you quantify the corruption that won’t be exposed because sources are afraid to talk? When the impact of threats is silence there’s no way to assess what we’re missing.

A threat to press freedom is an assault on our right to know.

A new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists tries to capture the invisible impact of the Obama administration’s troubled relationship with the press. The report, authored by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of the Washington Post, and CPJ’s Sara Rafsky, is the most comprehensive look at how the Obama administration’s actions have deeply damaged press freedom and the public’s access to information.

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Project Censored’s Top 25 Most Censored News Stories from 2012-2013

Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Corporate Controlled Media, Media & Arts with 0 Comments
Project Censored’s Top 25 Most Censored News Stories from 2012-2013

Those familiar with Project Censored’s work know that we define censorship as “anything that interferes with the free flow of information in a society that purports to have a free press.” This broader conception of censorship includes:

“the subtle yet constant and sophisticated manipulation of reality by mass media… Such manipulation can take the form of political pressure (from government officials and powerful individuals), economic pressure (from advertisers and funders), and legal pressure (from the threat of lawsuits from deep-pocket individuals, corporations, and institutions). Censorship includes stories that were never published, but also those that get such restricted distribution that few in the public are likely to know about them.”

By this standard, each of the news stories in our listing of the top 25 for 2012-13 is a censored story, whether the story has received no corporate coverage at all, or—in cases where the story has received corporate coverage—that coverage is partial in one or both senses of the term, i.e., incomplete and/or biased.

Although many of the Top 25 stories can be interpreted as emphasizing “what’s wrong” in the world today, we hope that our annual list is also understood as a celebration and appreciation of the good work that these independent reporters and news organizations do.

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The Senate Is Busy Creating a Privileged 1st Amendment Club for ‘Official’ Journalists

Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Censorship, Government, Politics, Whistleblower with 0 Comments
The Senate Is Busy Creating a Privileged 1st Amendment Club for ‘Official’ Journalists

On September 12, 2013, the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee narrowly defined who the law should consider to be a journalist, by amending the proposed Free Flow of Information Act (“FFIA”). The FFIA is a “shield law” that protects journalists from having to reveal their confidential sources when confronted with court subpoenas. The amendment changed the language of the bill from protecting the activity of journalism to protecting the profession. Journalists are now limited to those employed by, recently employed by, or substantially contributing to media organizations for certain minimum durations.

This maneuver skirts the substantial investigative role served by independent journalists, bloggers, and nontraditional media, who are left unprotected by the statute. It also expressly excludes whistleblower organizations. By not extending protection to a vital segment of investigative newsgatherers, the amended FFIA falls short of providing real benefits. More fundamentally, the distinctions created by the bill reinforce a privileged club for journalists. In essence, the government is licensing the press, and treading down a path that courts have for decades cautioned “present[s] practical and conceptual difficulties of a high order.”

The original FFIA, which took a functional view of journalists, adhered much more closely to the current academic trend—that journalism is an activity, not a profession.

Another logical pitfall of the law is its explicit exclusion of whistleblower organizations, like WikiLeaks, from its narrow definition of journalism.

The issue then is not so much that nontraditional media entities lack editorial standards, but that Congress disapproves of these standards. It is the same logic that leads the FFIA to exclude a good number of bloggers and independent journalists who may not adhere to traditional institutional editorial standards.

Indeed, the whole FFIA amendment is permeated by an undertone of institutional elitism and a rejection of new media.

Biases of lawmakers should not become law. Courts, since decades before the advent of the Internet, have avoided creating classes for journalists. It creates unsustainable logical contradictions and is ultimately bad for investigative reporting. In the words of Professor Linda Berger, “[N]o patriot printer or colonial pamphleteer had a journalism degree. Certification by a government agency or by a professional group carries the possibility of de-certification based on value judgments or viewpoints.” Legislation like FFIA teeters this country closer to a future where journalism bears the government’s stamp of approval.

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“Free Flow of Information Act” Targets Independent Journalism

Posted by on September 21, 2013 in Corporate Controlled Media, Media & Arts with 0 Comments
“Free Flow of Information Act” Targets Independent Journalism

The fact that the U.S. Senate is now defining what a journalist actually is sets a dangerous precedent threatening the present marketplace of ideas that in recent history has been greatly expanded by the internet.

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