Quantcast
Connect with us

U.S. press freedom plunges to 46th, placing it behind former Soviet states

Published

on

Click to expand map to full size.

In one of the largest drops in the modern era, the United States has plunged thirteen places in the World Press Freedom Index, placing it behind former Soviet states and other countries not typically known for press freedoms.

The massive drop is attributable mostly to the Obama Administration’s effort to crack down on whistleblowers. Obama’s Justice Department has filed suit against more whistleblowers than any other presidential administration in history.

ADVERTISEMENT

Forty-sixth places it behind the former Soviet republics of Lithuania and Latvia and the satellite states of Romania, Poland and Czechoslovakia (both the Czech Republic and Slovakia). It also puts it behind Ghana, South Africa and El Salvador.

“Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example, far from it,” wrote Reporters Without Borders Tuesday. “Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result.”

See the entire list and map here.

“This has been the case in the United States (46th), which fell 13 places, one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks. The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest,” they added.

The U.S. hasn’t fared well in the rankings in the past — last year, the group put the U.S. at  32nd. Traditionally, this put it behind myriad European countries (Finland, Norway, Germany and Switzerland). Canada placed 18th. There are 180 countries on the list.

ADVERTISEMENT

Of the United States and Britain, Reporters Without Borders writes:

US journalists were stunned by the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records without warning in order to identify the source of a CIA leak. It served as a reminder of the urgent need for a “shield law” to protect the confidentiality of journalists’ sources at the federal level. The revival of the legislative process is little consolation for James Risen of The New York Times, who is subject to a court order to testify against a former CIA employee accused of leaking classified information. And less still for Barrett Brown, a young freelance journalist facing 105 years in prison in connection with the posting of information that hackers obtained from Statfor, a private intelligence company with close ties to the federal government.

The United Kingdom (33rd, -3) distinguished itself in the war on terror by the disgraceful pressure it put on The Guardian newspaper and by its detention of David Miranda, journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner and assistant, for nine hours. Both the US and UK authorities seem obsessed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveillance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries.

Across the world, the highest press freedoms are in Europe, the report says.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • European Union and Balkans: 17.6 (17.5)
  • Americas: 30,3 (30,0)
  • Africa : 35,6 (34,3)
  • Asia-Pacific: 42,2 (42,2)
  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia: 45,5 (45,3)
  • Middle East and North Africa: 48,7 (48,5)

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Texas man assaulted girlfriend for speaking Spanish: police affidavit

Published

on

A Texas man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend for speaking Spanish.

Local news station Fox 7 Austin reports that 46-year-old Rogelio Moreno Lara was charged this week with "continuous violence," a third-degree felony, for his alleged assault against his girlfriend, who told police that he has regularly demanded that she only speak English.

According to Fox 7 Austin, the woman told police that Lara earlier this month "got up from the living room couch and got on top of her on the bed and grabbed her head by her hair with two hands and shook her head while telling her not to speak Spanish anymore." She also said that "he pulled her hair for about 15 seconds and slapped her once."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘This is outrageous’: Legal experts condemn Trump for demanding Sotomayor and Ginsburg recusals

Published

on

President Donald Trump Monday night called on Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg recuse themselves from any cases involving the president, a demand critics denounced as an "outrageous" attack on the nation's highest legal body.

"Justice Sotomayor issued a reasoned dissent noting a pattern among the justices of allowing the Trump administration to ignore the appellate courts and skip to the SCOTUS to secure their desired outcome."—Kristen Clarke, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Trump's demand came in response to Sotomayor's scathing dissent in the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to allow the president's so-called "wealth test" for immigrants—also known as the public charge rule—to take effect in Illinois. Sotomayor accused the court's five conservative justices of favoring one litigant over all others—the Trump administration—in their ruling.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘Paranoid cultist’ Rush Limbaugh blasted after claiming coronavirus is being ‘weaponized’ against Trump

Published

on

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh raised eyebrows this Monday when he claimed that it looks like the "coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump," adding that the ""truth" about the coronavirus is that it's the "common cold."

Limbaugh went on to slam the media for overhyping the virus in an effort to “an effort to get Trump” and even repeated a rumor that the virus originated in a Chinese biological weapons lab. While Limbaugh's initial comments were likely meant to critique what he sees as the media's bias against President Trump, others suggested he was trying to disseminate a conspiracy theory that the virus itself is a ploy to undermine Trump's presidency.

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image