By Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept – IN FEBRUARY, after Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. media were the “enemy of the people,” the targets of his insult exploded with indignation, devoting wall-to-wall media coverage to what they depicted as a grave assault on press freedoms more befitting of a tyranny. By stark and disturbing contrast, the media reaction yesterday was far more muted, even welcoming, when Trump’s CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, actually and explicitly vowed to target freedoms of speech and press in a blistering, threatening speech hedelivered to the D.C. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. What made Pompeo’s overt threats of repression so palatable to many was that they were not directed at CNN, the New York Times or other beloved-in-D.C. outlets, but rather at WikiLeaks, more marginalized publishers of information, and various leakers and whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Trump’s CIA Director stood up in public and explicitly threatened to target free speech rights and press freedoms…
By Steve Adler for Reuters – The first 12 days of the Trump presidency (yes, that’s all it’s been!) have been memorable for all – and especially challenging for us in the news business. It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” or that his chief strategist dubs the media “the opposition party.” It’s hardly surprising that the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration. So what is the Reuters answer? To oppose the administration? To appease it? To boycott its briefings? To use our platform to rally support for the media?
By Mike Elk for Washington-Baltimore News Guild – Donald Trump has declared war on the press in the hopes to intimidate us. As unionized journalists, it’s up to us to use our solidarity to push back. May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day. On May 3rd, let’s march on the White House and in cities across the world against Trump’s attack on the media. In our industry, we are encouraged not to take long lunches nor show up to rallies, but on May 3rd, let’s do both. Let’s give the cameras a sight for the ages: hundreds of journalists marching on the White House arm in arm for the cause of press freedom.
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – “It owns all these not-at-all-important laws are smuggled into NDAAs that are signed on Christmas Eve with basically no public debate,” wrote media critic Adam Johnson. In the final hours before the Christmas holiday weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday quietly signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law—and buried within the $619 billion military budget (pdf) is a controversial provision that establishes a national anti-propaganda center that critics warn could be dangerous for press freedoms. The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, introduced by Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio…
By Hugh Handeyside for ACLU – The recent abusive border search of a Canadian photojournalist should serve as a warning to everyone concerned about press freedom these days. Ed Ou is a renowned photographer and TED senior fellow who has traveled to the United States many times to do work for The New York Times, Time magazine, and other media outlets. Last month, Ed was traveling from Canada to the U.S. to report on the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota, when he was taken aside for additional inspection. What came next left him questioning what he thought he knew about the U.S. government and the values it stands for…
By Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan for Truth Dig – Monday was a cold, windy, autumnal day in North Dakota. We arrived outside the Morton County Courthouse in Mandan to produce a live broadcast of the “Democracy Now!” news hour. Originally, the location was dictated by the schedule imposed upon us by the local authorities; one of us (Amy) had been charged with criminal trespass for “Democracy Now!“‘s reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline company’s violent attack on Native Americans who were attempting to block the destruction of sacred sites
By Jaisal Noor for TRNN – The state of North Dakota has issued an arrest warrant for me that didnt happen when I was there when the Democracy Now team on September 3rd was covering whats taking place in North Dakota which is really historic. You have the largest unification of Native American tribes from Latin America, the United States, and Canada who are struggling right now for nothing less than the fate of the planet.
By Staff of Reporters Without Borders – The United States’ ranking improved in Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index, published on April 20. At 49th place in 2015, the country now ranks 41st out of 180 countries. This improvement in ranking is, however, quite relative, as in this section of the Index surrounding countries’ scores are close and small improvements are enough to drive such a positive evolution. This relative improvement by comparison hides overall negative trends.
By Abdullah Elfakharany for Middle East Eye – I was naïve – at least in the first days after I was arrested. I thought that the world would rise up to defend me, my colleagues and the freedom of the press, which was nurtured in Egypt after the 25 January Revolution in 2011. I thought all those press and human rights organisations, as well as opinion leaders who preach day and night about freedom of opinion and expression as essential values and principles, would do their best to stand in the face of flagrant violations against journalists in Egypt.
By Jon Mitchell for Freedom of the Press – In 2010, Japan was ranked #11 in Reporters Without Borders’ global Press Freedom Index. By February 2015, that number had plummeted to #61 – and next year it will likely fall further. Since coming to power in 2012, PM Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party have embarked upon a war of attrition against press freedoms in Japan. Assaults have included: embedding neo-nationalists in key positions at state broadcaster, NHK; issuing veiled threats to TV networks that coverage critical of the government might cost them their broadcast licenses…
By John Cusack for Portside – One morning as I scanned the news—horror in the Middle East, Russia and America facing off in the Ukraine, I thought of Edward Snowden and wondered how he was holding up in Moscow. I began to imagine a conversation between him and Daniel Ellsberg (who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam war). And then, interestingly, in my imagination a third person made her way into the room—the writer Arundhati Roy. It occurred to me that trying to get the three of them together would be a fine thing to do. I had heard Roy speak in Chicago, and had met her several times. One gets the feeling very quickly with her and comes to the rapid conclusion that there are no pre-formatted assumptions or givens.
By Omar Ashour in Al Jazeera – “Shocked”, “sickened”, and “appalled” were appropriate words to describe theinternational reactions – and some of the local ones – to the second sentencing of Al Jazeera journalists and their colleagues in a Cairo court on Saturday. “The verdict today … sends a message that journalists can be locked up for simply doing their job, for telling the truth, and reporting the news. And it sends a dangerous message that there are judges in Egypt who will allow their courts to become instruments of political repression and propaganda.” Those were words of Mohamed Fahmy’s lawyer, Amal Clooney. The more disturbing part is that her words are an understatement. The Committee to Protect Journalistsissued a report in June 2015 that concluded that Egypt’s imprisonment of journalists is at an all-time high.
By Ashoka Jegroo in Waging Nonviolence. Mexico City, Mexico – One man has been arrested in connection with the July 31 murder of Mexican photojournalist Rubén Espinosa, social activist Nadia Vera, their two roommates and their housekeeper. They were all beaten, tortured and shot in the head in their apartment in Mexico City. Two other suspects are still yet to be found. Espinosa’s death adds one more to the dozens of journalists killed in Mexico over the last few years. Depending on who is doing the counting, between 88 and 127 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000. Espinosa worked for the magazines Proceso, Agencia Cuartoscuro and AVC Noticiasin the Mexican state of Veracruz, though his murder occurred outside the state.
By Ted Rall in A New Domain – As an editorial cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, I have drawn numerous cartoons critical of the Los Angeles Police Department’s abuse, corruption and heavy-handed incompetence. Now it seems the LAPD has gotten even: It has convinced the Times to fire me. At issue is a blog I wrote to accompany my May 11, 2015 cartoon for the Times. It was about an announced LAPD crackdown. Not on violent crime, but jaywalking. I opened with a personal anecdote from nearly 14 years ago, when a Los Angeles police officer ticketed me for jaywalking on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. The date was October 3, 2001. I’ll get into the allegations below the fold. But first, here is a far-from-complete sample of LAPD-related cartoons I’ve drawn for The Times and some other publications. . .
By Kit O’Connell in Mint Press News – I wanted to talk today about the challenges of being a new media journalist today, and I’ve got three major points and a couple challenges we face that I plan to touch on. We all agree that old media is dying, that’s part of why we’re here. It’s also oppressing people on the way out by throwing a temper tantrum as it dies, and it’s hurting everybody — especially those of us who want to be journalists in a sustainable career, and for anyone who wants to reach people. But new media kind of looks like a sweat shop! On July 1, Digiday published a study on the volume of publishing in modern online media. According to their figures, Huffington Post has 532 full time staff churning out 1,200 articles per day, with an additional 400 unpaid blog posts generated daily. So here’s three major points to focus on when we imagine revolutionary media. 1) Revolutionary media is decentralized and diverse. 2) Revolutionary media is not neutral or balanced. 3) Revolutionary media is sustainable.