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Free Press

Raid On Kansas Paper Shows Perilous State Of Free Press

As the police raided Marion County Record editor and publisher Eric Meyer’s home August 11 (Committee to Protect Journalists, 8/12/23; AP, 8/13/23; New York Times, 8/13/23), his 98-year-old mother was aghast, watching the cops rummage through her things. “She was very upset, yelling about ‘Gestapo tactics’ and ‘where are all the good people?’” Meyer told FAIR. He said that after the raid she “was beside herself, she wouldn’t eat, she couldn’t sleep and finally went to bed about sunrise.” Meyer’s mother, a co-owner of the paper, eventually told her son that the whole affair was “going to be the death of me.”

The Summit Of The Americas: The Things No One Wants To Talk About

The Summit of the Americas has begun in Los Angeles and the Tower of Babel that Biden built is already tottering. Since June 6, the civil society forums have been in session and clashes between those who support the hegemonic role of the United States and those who defend the sovereignty of the Latin American peoples have not ceased. In these spaces, the discourse of hatred towards those arbitrarily excluded by the U.S. government has prevailed. It was a scenario prepared down to the smallest detail since not only were the governments of Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela excluded, but their civil society representatives. At this point, the most visible case is the 23 Cuban artists, scientists, and social leaders whose visas were not processed to prevent them from attending the Peoples’ Summit. The objective is to make the reality of Cuba and the other states invisible, to replace it with a different one that justifies the permanent aggressions these peoples suffer. That’s why the organizers have invited other political actors, disguised as civil society activists, whose speeches are not only in line with the U.S. policy of interference but are designed in the State Department or the office of some Senators and Congressmen.

Assange Legal Team Submits Closing Argument Against Extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team submitted their closing argument to a British magistrates’ court. They argue, “It is politically motivated, it is an abuse of the process of this court, and it is a clear violation of the Anglo-U.S. treaty that governs this extradition.” The closing argument relies on evidence presented by witnesses, who testified during a trial in September, and details how President Barack Obama’s administration declined to prosecute Assange. President Donald Trump’s administration reversed this “principled” position because of the nature of Assange’s “disclosures...

Rest In Power, Kevin Zeese

It is with a sad heart that I report the sudden and unexpected death of Kevin Zeese early Sunday morning. Kevin was working up until the end and died in his sleep of a possible heart attack. Kevin was going to write a newsletter this weekend about the extradition trial of Julian Assange, which begins today. Kevin understood the great importance of the prosecution of Julian Assange as a battle that will define journalism in the 21st century and our right to know. He was helping to organize an online event featuring Daniel Ellsberg, James Goodale and Chris Hedges, moderated by Sue Udry.

John Pilger: The Global War on Assange, Journalism & Dissent

In this interview with Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico, Pilger talks about what is happening to his friend and colleague Julian Assange, founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, and how his persecution could be the beginning of the end of modern investigative reporting as we know it. Since Assange’s high-profile arrest and maximum-security imprisonment on a bail-jumping charge, journalists and whistleblowers have been pursued, arrested and have their documents and hard drives seized in the U.S., France, Great Britain, and Australia.

Press Freedom Prize Goes To Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet

By Staff of Reporters Without Borders - This year, the Istanbul-based daily Cumhuriyet has distinguished itself by its defence of media freedom in Turkey but has paid a high price. As the government kept stepping up its harassment of its critics, Cumhuriyet’s independent and courageous journalism triggered one prosecution after the other, a smear campaign and the repeated blocking of its website. “The person who committed this crime will pay dearly, he won’t get away with it so easily,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in June when announcing on TV that he was bringing a formal charge of “spying” against Cumhuriyet editor Can Dündar.

How Activism Won Real Net Neutrality

Today the Federal Communications Commission has adopted strong net neutrality rules that will require all traffic on the Internet to be treated equally. There will be no fast lanes for large corporations and slow lanes for independent voices. In the days and weeks to come a lot of ink will be spilled about the significance of the FCC’s new rules and the legal nuances of where they might fall short. But for the moment, it is worth reflecting on how this victory was won. This time last year, it looked like all bets were off for net neutrality. A Washington, D.C., district court had just shot down the FCC’s previous net neutrality rules in a lawsuit brought by Verizon. The task then fell to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a venture capitalist and former head lobbyist for both the cable and wireless industries, to draft new rules that would stand up in court. What followed was one of the most sustained and strategic activist campaigns in recent memory.

The Cost Of Advocating Freedom Of Speech In Saudi Arabia

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed free speech in the autocratic kingdom. His blog, the Saudi Free Liberals Forum, was shut down after his arrest in 2012. This article writings that show a man who risked his freedom to question some of the basic tenets of life in Saudi Arabia - especially the central role of religion. Raif writes: "Secularism respects everyone and does not offend anyone ... Secularism ... is the practical solution to lift countries (including ours) out of the third world and into the first world." And, "Finally, we should not hide that fact that Muslims in Saudi Arabia not only disrespect the beliefs of others, but also charge them with infidelity to the extent that they consider anyone who is not Muslim an infidel, and, within their own narrow definitions, they consider non-Hanbali [the Saudi school of Islam] Muslims as apostates. How can we be such people and build ... normal relations with six billion humans, four and a half billion of whom do not believe in Islam."

The Myth Of The Free Press

The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism. They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia.

Free Press Activists Take Texas Net Neutrality Hearing By Storm

I gathered bright and early Tuesday morning with a crowd of fellow Net Neutrality supporters at Texas A&M University in College Station. Just three weeks ago, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai — an opponent of Net Neutrality — had announced plans to hold an open forum at Texas A&M on “Internet regulation.” In short order Free Press decided to hold a Net Neutrality rally beforehand right outside the event venue. We wanted to be sure our members and allies would have an opportunity to share their stories before heading into the forum. Many Free Press members had boarded buses at 5 or 6 a.m. to speak out for the open Internet, and they came from as far away as Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Journalism Groups Rally To Support James Risen

Ten months after the Committee to Protect Journalists issued its scathing report “The Obama Administration and the Press,” journalists and potential whistleblowers continue to face unprecedented surveillance and legal jeopardy. The report, authored by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post, remains grimly up to date as it describes “the fearful atmosphere surrounding contacts between American journalists and government sources.” The US Department of Justice seems determined to intensify that fearful atmosphere—in part by threatening to jail New York Times reporter James Risen, who refuses to name any source for the disclosure in his 2006 book State of War that the CIA bungled a dumb and dangerous operation with nuclear weapons blueprints in Iran. The government is now prosecuting a former CIA employee, Jeffrey Sterling, for allegedly leaking that information to Risen. Attorney General Eric Holder may soon decide whether he wants to imprison Risen for not capitulating. The Freedom of the Press Foundation calls it “one of the most significant press freedom cases in decades.” Almost a year ago, under the letterhead of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 46 news organizations sent a letter to Holder urging the Justice Department to withdraw the subpoena issued to Risen. Two months ago, the Committee to Protect Journalists put out a new statement again calling on the Justice Department to cancel the subpoena.
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