Oliver Stone Honored With Press Freedom Award

From Flickr/ Martha Soukup

By Robert Parry for Consortium News – Director Oliver Stone – in recognition of his brave work in documentary films – has been selected as the winner of the 2016 Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award, reports Robert Parry. Though most people know Oliver Stone as a famous screenwriter and movie director, he has also lent his talents and resources to a number of documentary films that embrace the core journalistic idea that there are usually two sides – if not more – to a story. In doing so, Stone has taken on controversial subjects, both in challenging conventional history as with Showtime’s “Untold History of the United States” and daring to treat foreign leaders – who were undergoing demonization by the U.S. government and media – as complex figures who deserve to have their say as well. Not surprisingly, Stone has faced intense criticism for deviating from mainstream U.S. groupthinks, which seek to portray international adversaries as cardboard villains deserving only of American hatred and bombs.

Canadian Police Surveilling Journalists

Martin Prud'homme, chief of the Sûreté du Québec, testified Monday before the commission looking into the surveillance of journalists by police. (CBC)

By Staff for CBC News – The head of the Quebec provincial police revealed Monday that its officers had a seventh journalist under surveillance — Nicolas Saillant of the Journal de Québec. Sûreté du Québec Chief Martin Prud’homme revealed the information about Saillant in his testimony Monday at the commission tasked with looking into police surveillance of journalists. The commission is led by Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Jacques Chamberland. The revelation about Saillant came out of a cross-examination by Christian Leblanc, the lawyer representing a number of news organizations in the province, including CBC / Radio-Canada, before the commission.

Diversity Revolt At The Wall Street Journal

Gerry Baker, The Wall Street Journal's editor in chief. Monica Schipper/Getty Images

By Nathan McAlone for Business Insider – Reporters and editors at The Wall Street Journal have signed a letter to management expressing concern about the roles of women and people of color in the newsroom. “Diversity in the newsroom is good for business and good for our coverage,” says the letter, which was obtained by Business Insider. “We would like to see The Journal undertake a more comprehensive, intentional and transparent approach to improving it.” The letter comes at a time of dissent at The Journal, when leadership has been internally criticized for being soft on President Donald Trump, and over a year after the employees’ union published details of pay disparities in the newsroom.

Fake News About Venezuela: A Simple Recipe

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By Ricardo Vaz for InvestigAction – This recipe has been used and re-used plenty of times, either by US officials to justify policies or by media outlets. But given how the media critically accepts everything when it comes to foreign policy, there is hardly a distinction to be made here. A classical example were the fabricated connections between Chávez/Venezuela and al-Qaeda. Other variants involve dealings with the FARC (1), Mexican cartels, and the favourite dance partner is Hezbollah. On one hand, the US’ relation with al-Qaeda is now a bit more complicated, as extremists may get bombed if they are in Iraq but supported if they cross into Syria. On the other, Hezbollah is the biggest obstacle to Israeli hegemony and the colonisation of Palestine.

Coalition Urges North Dakota To Drop Charges Against #NoDAPL Journalists

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By Staff of Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières (RSF) – a non-profit organization defending freedom of the press and access to information, along with the organizations below, write to express deep concerns regarding charges against multiple journalists for their coverage of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The undersigned have collectively documented at least 10 journalists currently facing charges stemming from their reporting on the protests. Filmmaker Jahnny Lee is being charged with physical obstruction of a government function and is next due to appear in court for an arraignment on March 22. Myron Dewey, owner of Digital Smoke Signals

‘Any Of The Journalists Present Could Have Been Arrested’

Filmmaker Jahnny Lee shortly before his arrest while recording an DAPL protest. (image: Reed Lindsay)

By Reed Lindsay for FAIR – As residents were evicted from the Oceti Sakowin Camp where they had gathered to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline, filmmaker and journalist Reed Lindsay posted this update on the continued assault on the First Amendment faced by independent journalists covering the #NODAPL struggle. Filmmaker Jahnny Lee working with the Sundance Institute was arrested yesterday by North Dakota police while filming a stand-off between police and water protectors. He was charged with “obstruction of a government function.” I can only surmise that the charge of “criminal trespass,” leveled at Jihan Hafiz and many other journalists while covering events of the Standing Rock resistance against the DAPL pipeline, could not be used against Jahnny because he was on State Highway 1806. (How can one trespass on a highway?)

Charges Dropped Against Journalist Covering Inauguration Protests

On inauguration day, police kettle protesters at the corner of 12th and L Streets in Washington, DC./Photo by Mark Hand

By Anne Meador for DC Media Group – Shay Horse, an independent photographer, was notified by the U.S. Attorney’s office that felony rioting charges against him had been dropped without prejudice. He had been arrested and charged during protests in Washington, DC on Jan. 20, the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration. Horse was among seven journalists who were arrested when police indiscriminately rounded up hundreds of protesters using a technique called “kettling.” Mass arrests in 2000 and 2002 led to lawsuit settlements in the millions. As part of the legal settlements, new policies were implemented which prohibited kettling. Police also tear gassed and pepper sprayed protesters and threw concussion grenades at them after a few “Black Bloc” demonstrators allegedly broke storefront windows and torched a limosine. In total, seven journalists were arrested and charged along with more than 200 protesters.

Reuters Grapples With Covering Trump While Administration Attacks News

From reuters.com

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?

Good Journalism Requires Openness To Foreign Sources Of Information

RT America

By Steve Cunningham for Black Agenda Report. If it wasn’t for Wikileaks, we would think Hillary Clinton’s public position were here private position; that the DNC was perfectly neutral and that Hillary Clinton won her nomination fair and square; and that the sole purpose of the Clinton Foundation was AIDS research. If anything, Wikileaks saved the election from the lies and deception of the Clinton campaign. So what if a foreign entity intervened? There is a stark difference between foreign propaganda, and foreign intervention that leads to more truth being exposed. The difference is that the first one is founded on a lie, and the second one is founded on the truth. There can never be enough truth in a democracy, unless getting to that truth involves the violation of rights. Yet acts of civil disobedience in terms of hacking are necessary at times when so much truth has become obfuscated. We cannot say how much hacking is too much hacking, only when the rights of individuals have become so impugned that it outweighs the value of the hacking. Yet in this instance, so much truth was revealed, so as to outweigh the rights to privacy and other rights of the DNC members.

Reporters March On White House On World Press Freedom Day

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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.

Confirmation Hearing; Sessions Opposes Protections For Reporters Publishing Leaks

Screen shot from CSPAN broadcast of Senator Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing for Attorney General

By Kevin Gsoztola for Shadow Proof – Republican Senator Jeff Sessions opposed protections for reporters, who have viewpoints and publish contents from national security leaks, during his confirmation hearing for the position of Attorney General. Asked by Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar about upholding rules adopted by the Justice Department and avoiding the jailing of journalists who do their jobs, Sessions said, “I’m not sure. I have not studied those regulations.” Sessions suggested there were “few examples,” where the press and Justice Department disagreed on issues. “For the most part, there is a broadly recognized and proper deference to the news media.”

An Open Letter To Fellow Minority Journalists

Flickr/ Chris Potter

By Jay Caspian Kang for Medium – Over the next year or two, media — especially prestige print media — will begin thinning out its ranks. The economic forecast, despite temporary spikes in post-election subscriptions, is not good and headcount spots will have to be cleared to make room for all the incoming pro-Trump takes. “Identity politics writers” (read: anyone who isn’t white and who doesn’t spend 99% of their time reporting) will almost certainly be the first to go. In reality, this is just a self-correction on the part of prestige print media. As early as three years ago, the entire senior editorial staff of the New Yorkermagazine was white (the web, where I worked for a short stint in 2014, was slightly more diverse. I even sat next to a minority, which was a first for me in my publishing career.).

Does What Happened To Journalist At US-Canada Border Herald Darker Trend?

Photojournalist Ed Ou (Photo by Kitra Cahana)

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…

French News Channel’s Journalists On Strike For Editorial Independence

Staff of French news channel iTele vote to renew their strike for another day on November 7, 2016 in front of the channel's headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt/AF

By Staff of RSF – France’s political leaders and the agency that is supposed to guarantee the freedom of its broadcast media seem unable to respond to the deepening conflict between Vincent Bolloré, the billionaire owner of the French 24-hour TV news channel iTélé, and iTélé’s journalists, who are fighting for editorial independence. The channel’s journalists have been on strike for the past three weeks in what is now the second-longest stoppage in the broadcast sector since May 1968.

Pipeline Protest Reporter Shot With Rubber Bullet Mid-Interview

"Environmental assessments failed to disclose the presence and proximity of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation," stated UN expert Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. (Photo: John Duffy/flickr/cc)

By Hilary Hanson for The Huffington Post – Footage taken during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota Wednesday appears to show a rubber bullet hitting a journalist in the back as she conducted an interview. Erin Schrode, an activist and congressional candidate in California, posted a video on Facebook Thursday that shows her interviewing a Native American man, then suddenly falling to the ground as people rush to surround her in concern. She wrote that law enforcement shot her in the lower back with a rubber bullet, though neither the act nor the bullet can be seen on camera.