In the U.S., 'The whistleblower is the enemy,' press freedom list says

Reporters Without Borders | The Guardian | The Huffington Post

The United States fell from No. 32 to No. 46 on Reporters Without Borders' 2014 survey of press freedom. The United Kingdom fell three points, to No. 33.

In the U.S., "No fewer that eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president," the report notes, "compared with three during Bush’s two terms." The year 2013 will be remembered "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.

RWB ranks the U.K. -- where government agents oversaw the destruction of hard drives containing Snowden documents at The Guardian -- higher than the U.S. Ryan Gallagher, who just joined First Look Media as a reporter, said on Twitter that seems off:


"By identifying journalism with terrorism with such disturbing ease, the UK authorities are following one of the most widespread practices of authoritarian regimes," the report says.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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