Politics Magazine

Is Freedom Of The Press Disappearing In The U.S. ?

Posted on the 24 December 2014 by Jobsanger
Is Freedom Of The Press Disappearing In The U.S. ?
Americans like to think we are a free country with a free press, and that we lead the rest of the world in both of those things. But that is just an outcome of the false belief in American exceptionalism, and at least as far as freedom of the press goes, is not even close to the truth.
Reporters Without Borders has published its 2014 World Press Freedom Index (with the results reflected in the map above). That organization believes the United States has some growing problems with freedom of the press -- enough to move it from a 32nd ranking in 2013 to 46th in 2014 (a drop of 13 places on their index). Here is what Reporters Without Borders has to say in their report about some troubling trends in the United States:
In the United States, 9/11 spawned a major conflict between the imperatives of national security and the principles of the constitution’s First Amendment. This amendment enshrines every person’s right to inform and be informed. But the heritage of the 1776 constitution was shaken to its foundations during George W. Bush’s two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials.
There has been little improvement in practice under Barack Obama. Rather than pursuing journalists, the emphasis has been on going after their sources, but often using the journalist to identify them. No fewer that eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president, compared with three during Bush’s two terms. While 2012 was in part the year of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 2013 will be remember for the National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden, who exposed the mass surveillance methods developed by the US intelligence agencies.
The whistleblower is the enemy. Hence the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea/Bradley Manning for being the big WikiLeaks source, an extremely long sentence but nonetheless small in comparison with the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case. Amid an all-out hunt for leaks and sources, 2013 will also be the year of the Associated Press scandal, which came to light when the Department of Justice acknowledged that it had seized the news agency’s phone records.
Here are the leading countries in press freedom:
1. Finland
2. Netherlands
3. Norway
4. Luxembourg
5. Andorra
6. Liechtenstein
7. Denmark
8. Iceland
9. New Zealand
10. Sweden
11. Estonia
12. Austria
13. Czech Republic
14. Germany
15. Switzerland
16. Ireland
17. Jamaica
18. Canada
19. Poland
20. Slovakia
23. Belgium
28. Australia
30. Portugal
33. United Kingdom
35. Spain
39. France
42. South Africa
46. United States

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