US Ranks 41st on Global Press Freedom List

White House Press Corps. (photo: AP)
White House Press Corps. (photo: AP)


Julian Hattem | The Hill | Reader Supported News | April 20, 2016

he United States ranked 41st in global press freedom by an international journalist advocacy group in an annual list released on Wednesday.

Reporters Without Borders claimed that, despite being enshrined in the Constitution, freedom of the press “has encountered a major obstacle” in the U.S. due to “the government’s war on whistleblowers.”

Reporters Without Borders also chided the U.S. for not establishing a federal “shield law” protecting journalists from having to reveal their sources.

The ranking was actually an eight-spot improvement over 2015, when the U.S. came in 49th in the world.

Read more

James Risen Slams Holder, ‘Administration Is Greatest Enemy of Press Freedom’

James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times. (photo: Alex Menendez/AP)
James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times. (photo: Alex Menendez/AP)

ew York Times reporter James Risen slammed Attorney General Eric Holder in a series of tweets Tuesday evening, calling the Obama administration “The greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.”

“Eric Holder has been the nation’s top censorship officer, not the top law enforcement officer,” Risen tweeted. “Eric Holder has done the bidding of the intelligence community and the White House to damage press freedom in the United States.”

Risen was tweeting in response to a speech Holder gave earlier on Tuesday at the National Press Club, where he defended the administration’s record on prosecuting leakers, saying they could have prosecuted far more than they actually did.

Read more

On the Meaning of Journalistic Independence

Glenn Greenwald | The Intercept | Reader Supported News | March 1, 2014

his morning, I see that some people are quite abuzz about a new Pando article “revealing” that the foundation of Pierre Omidyar, the publisher of First Look Media which publishes The Intercept, gave several hundred thousand dollars to a Ukraininan “pro-democracy” organization opposed to the ruling regime. This, apparently, is some sort of scandal that must be immediately addressed not only by Omidyar, but also by every journalist who works at First Look. That several whole hours elapsed since the article was published on late Friday afternoon without my commenting is, for some, indicative of disturbing stonewalling.

I just learned of this article about 30 minutes ago, which is why I’m addressing it “only” now (I apologize for not continuously monitoring Twitter at all times, including the weekend). I have not spoken to Pierre or anyone at First Look – or, for that matter, anyone else in the world – about any of this, and am speaking only for myself here. To be honest, I barely know what it is that I’m supposed to boldly come forth and address, so I’ll do my best to make a few points about this specific article but also make some general points about journalistic independence that I do actually think are important:

(1) The Pando article adopts the tone of bold investigative journalism that intrepidly dug deep into secret materials and uncovered a “shocking” bombshell  (“Step out of the shadows…. Pierre Omidyar”). But as I just discovered with literally 5 minutes of Googling, the Omidyar Network’s support for the Ukrainian group in question, Centre UA, has long been publicly known: because the Omidyar Network announced the investment at the time in a press release and then explained it on its website.

Read more

Ugandan LGBT community arrests while protesting media closures

Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | May 23, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 11.58.43 AM

Protesting for freedom of the press in Uganda

Today several human rights defenders were arrested outside of the Daily Monitor as they rallied in solidarity against the Ugandan authorities clamp down on freedom of speech of the media. It seems that members of Uganda’s LGBT community have shown their courage, yet again, and this time by standing up for universal principles, a freedom that is not unique to their cause. These arrests came not from seeking to preserve their personal human right to freedom of sexual orientation, but rather the universal principle which impacts all Ugandans, the right to a free press.

We reported earlier this week that the Ugandan police had closed down two Ugandan media outlets – The Daily Monitor and The Red Pepper Tabloid. The police issued a statement saying they had planned to conduct searches, apparently for an original letter, purportedly evidence in a crime, which seems to relate to the recent military controversy involving a Ugandan general.  Some believe that the closure was done in retribution and to silence these outlets from reporting on the developments surrounding the issue, rather than to search for the document. The closure was characterized as raids. Both outlets remained closed for several days, amidst an outcry by journalists and human rights defenders. A Court order was obtained ordering the police to reopen the media premises. It was ignored.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 11.55.35 AM

Included in the protests were several well known members of the LGBT community. Some of whom, although now protesting in solidarity with the press, had been ill-treated by the  Press, including those who had been outed by Red Pepper Tabloid, which had used extremely abusive rhetoric in the outings.

As it happens, the activists from SMUG, who are now defending the right of free speech by press, had recently on May 17th’s International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO,) called upon the Ugandan Press to respect the LGBT community in their reporting:-

Read more

Poor Scott Lively bullied and intimidated by homo-fascists

the Editors | Oblogdeeoblogda | May 21, 2013


Scott Lively has long taken full advantage of his First Amendment rights and while no one would ever deny him that right, it certainly becomes pitiful when he whines about us not loving his hate when he exercises it.  He is welcome to scurry around on the defensive, as he has done in a recent article, fretting in feigned fashion to protect the rights to free speech – but that does not mean we will back off calling a spade a spade! And here it is, simply put: “In pursuing his right to free speech Scott Lively is a religious bigot.” There I said it and now because I exercised my right to free speech I am called a Homo-Facist. So I guess we are even Scott – you are the bigot and I am the Homo-Facist. Which would I rather be?

“While traditional liberalism values the First Amendment freedoms of speech, thought and religion as the highest ideals of civilization, homo-fascists seek to criminalize any exercise of these ideals that are deemed to be a threat to “gay” culture.  Present day examples of homo-fascist policies include speech codes in schools and colleges, anti-discrimination regulations in government agencies and private corporations, and de-facto anti-family censorship policies in the news media. Where pro-family speech and other activities are not yet constrained by law, homo-fascists employ bullying and other intimidation tactics to silence opponents and manipulate policy makers, all while posing as victims.” (Lively)

What Lively forgets is that he can have all the freedom of expression under his God given sun, but that does not make him any the less a hater and a bigot, and while he may indeed have the right to be such, he also conveniently forgets the amount of harm his words and sometimes the deeds of interference accompanying those words,  have caused others.

So while he cries woe is me, they are criticizing me for exercising my first amendment right, he is wrong – we are critiquing what are lies, myths and the resulting hate that ensues. And even more importantly while we are fighting for our own right to equality, Lively has yet to show one example of where his rights have been taken away. Not even one example. In fact he is making the admission that it is the gays who are in fact discriminated against when referencing “anti-discrimination” regulations. Blab away Scott – for the more you do the more you lose.

Read more