Author Topic: US Under Fire In Global Press Freedom Report  (Read 481 times)


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US Under Fire In Global Press Freedom Report
« on: February 17, 2014, 07:36:43 AM »
US Under Fire In Global Press Freedom Report
February 11, 2014 6:35 PM

Paris (AFP) - Conflicts continued to weigh heavily on the media last year but press freedom was also under increasing threat from abuses by democracies like the United States, Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday.

In its annual World Press Freedom Index, the Paris-based media rights watchdog warned of the "growing threat worldwide" from the "tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner".

The United States was singled out for its pursuit of intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, the conviction of WikiLeaks informer Bradley Manning and the secret seizure of phone records from the Associated Press.
The group, known by its French acronym RSF, said the United States had suffered "one of the most significant declines" in press freedom last year, dropping 13 places to 46th in the 180-country index, wedged between Romania and Haiti.

"Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example, far from it," RSF said.

Syria remained especially deadly for journalists last year, with RSF reporting nearly 130 media professionals killed in the country since its conflict began in March 2011.

Syria's overall ranking of fourth from the bottom was unchanged, but RSF has raised concerns about a surge in kidnappings.

Armed conflicts hurt press freedom elsewhere, with Mali falling 22 spots to 122nd and the Central African Republic dropping 43 places to 109th.

The top-ranked countries were Finland, The Netherlands and Norway, unchanged from last year.
At the bottom again were Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan, described by RSF as "news and information black holes and living hells for the journalists who inhabit them".
Britain dropped three places in the ranking to 33rd, with RSF blaming the "disgraceful pressure" it put on newspaper The Guardian over its reporting of Snowden's revelations of widespread spying by the US National Security Agency.

In Asia, Japan dropped five spots to 59th, with RSF criticising the adoption late last year of a new "intelligence protection" law that stiffens penalties for those who spill state secrets.
China, which dropped one spot to 175th, "continues to censor and jail dissident bloggers and journalists", RSF said.

Bulgaria remained the lowest-ranked European Union country in the index, but was "closely challenged" by Greece, which is ranked 99th after years of financial pressure on the media and some violence against journalists.

The report also highlighted "noteworthy rises" in countries where "violence against journalists, direct censorship and misuse of judicial proceedings are on the decline" -- including in Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.

Here are some selected rankings from the index:
1. Finland
2. The Netherlands
3. Norway
14. Germany
16. Ireland
18. Canada
23. Belgium
28. Australia
33. Britain
39. France
42. South Africa
46. United States
59. Japan
109. Central African Republic
111. Brazil
112. Nigeria
122. Mali
127. Ukraine
140. India
148. Russia
152. Mexico
154. Turkey
158. Pakistan
159. Egypt
177. Syria
178. Turkmenistan
179. North Korea
180. Eritrea


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Re: US Under Fire In Global Press Freedom Report
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 01:53:14 PM »
FCC To Imbed Government Informants
In News-Rooms Across America;
Radio and Television

Monday, February 17, 2014 11:53

It has been long affirmed that the government has had a big influence on the news you receive through mainstream media. CNN is largely liberal and Fox of course is conservative to its core. These media outlets have done there shilling for political parties and politicians largely on their own volition but the FCC has big plans to be in the newsroom taking notes and it may well jeopardize the first amendment and freedom of the press. The plan to invade newsrooms across America to take notes and see how they run their business is just another item on a long list of unconstitutional abuses by the Obama administration.

The FCC says the study is merely an objective fact-finding mission. The results will inform a report that the FCC must submit to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry.

Ajit Pai, a commissioner with the Federal Communications Commission, warned this week that a plan to dispatch researchers into radio, television and even newspaper newsrooms called the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” is still going forward, despite the grave danger it presented to the First Amendment. Pai warned that under the rationale of increasing minority representation in newsrooms, the FCC, which has the power to issue or not issue broadcasting licenses, would dispatch its “researchers” to newsrooms across America to seek their “voluntary” compliance about how news stories are decided, as well as “wade into office politics” looking for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected as evidence of a shutout of minority views.

Pai questioned if such a study could really be voluntary, given FCC’s conflict of interest (and, he might have added, the Obama record of going after political opponents). The origin of the idea is a recrudescence of the Fairness Doctrine, inoperative since 1987 or so, to provide equal time to leftist points of view in broadcasting and other media that otherwise wouldn’t have a willing audience in a free market. It’s an idea so fraught with potential for abuse it ought to have news agencies screaming bloody murder. The very idea of Obama hipsters showing up in newsrooms, asking questions and judging if newspapers (over which they have no jurisdiction), radio and TV are sufficiently diverse is nothing short of thought control. But the reaction from the National Association of Broadcasters was mealy-mouthed.

The FCC “should reconsider” “qualitative” sections of its study, it wrote. The FCC now says it will be “closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited,” as a result of Pai’s warning. Adweek actually reported that as a “retreat.” The U.S. has one of the most significant declines in press freedom in the world last year, dropping 13 places to a wretched 46th in its newly released global ranking.

Participation in the Critical Information Needs study is voluntary—in theory. Unlike the opinion surveys that Americans see on a daily basis and either answer or not, as they wish, the FCC’s queries may be hard for the broadcasters to ignore. They would be out of business without an FCC license, which must be renewed every eight years.

This is not the first time the agency has meddled in news coverage. Before Critical Information Needs, there was the FCC’s now-defunct Fairness Doctrine, which began in 1949 and required equal time for contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues. Though the Fairness Doctrine ostensibly aimed to increase the diversity of thought on the airwaves, many stations simply chose to ignore controversial topics altogether, rather than air unwanted content that might cause listeners to change the channel.

The Fairness Doctrine was controversial and led to lawsuits throughout the 1960s and ’70s that argued it infringed upon the freedom of the press. The FCC finally stopped enforcing the policy in 1987, acknowledging that it did not serve the public interest. In 2011 the agency officially took it off the books. But the demise of the Fairness Doctrine has not deterred proponents of newsroom policing, and the CIN study is a first step down the same dangerous path.

Is it possible there a similarity here, with a county employee having e-mail discussions with a newspaper editor and as a member of an LLC?


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