Archive for the ‘Press Freedom’ Category

Anna Politkovskaya

10 April 2007

The RSF has an article on Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who was murdered but whose killer was never found. She was a critic of Putin, and was well-known for reporting on Chechnya.

In 2001 she went into exile after receiving death threats, but later returned. She was killed on October 7th last year in Moscow.

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Scooter Libby… What?

13 March 2007

Though jurors have found Scooter Libby guilty, Fox News says otherwise. The News Corpse shows a shot of their coverage of the verdict, with “Scooter Libby Found Not Guilty of Lying to FBI Investigators” across the bottom.

Freedom of speech is great, but Fox News should probably consider being more accurate nonetheless.

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Press Freedom 2007 Report

2 February 2007

Reporters Without Borders published its annual survey on press freedom yesterday. It covers 98 countries and is available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic.

Among other things, it notes that “A disturbingly record number of journalists and media workers were killed or thrown in prison around the world in 2006.” Also, six journalists and four media assistants were killed in January of this year alone.

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Journalist Called to Testify in Court Martial

22 January 2007

Journalist Sarah Olson was recently called to testify in a court martial against Ehren Watada, according to the Progressive. Watada has called the Iraq War “illegal and unjust,” and is refusing to deploy there.

Olson, a freelance writer, was one of the first to cover the story, and is now being called to testify in the court martial. Though the military says that it is not asking for notes or tapes, others say it is wrong to make her essentially testify against her source, and on January 8th the Los Angeles Times said that “No prosecutor should be able to conscript any reporter into being a deputy by compelling testimony made by a source—or go fishing for information beyond what a reporter presents in a story—unless it’s absolutely vital to protect U.S. citizens from crime or attack.”

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Press Freedom in 2006

1 January 2007

Reporters Without Borders released its information on press freedom in 2006 recently. In 2006, according to RSF:

– 81 journalists and 32 media assistants were killed
– at least 871 were arrested
– 1,472 physically attacked or threatened
– 56 kidnapped
– and 912 media outlets censored

This was compared to 2005, which saw:

– 63 journalists and 5 media assistants were killed
– at least 807 were arrested
– 1,308 physically attacked or threatened
– and 1,006 media outlets censored

The 81 killed was the highest death toll since 1994, and many of the attacks involved election coverage around the world.

This was the first year that RSF recorded the number of journalists kidnapped.

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What They Wanted to Say About Iran

27 December 2006

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann recently tried to publish an article in the New York Times, according to a new article they have written regarding the issue of their first. It was not published as they wanted it, not because of NYT editors, but because of White House demands that CIA censors deleted a substantial amount of material.

The CIA had already cleared it for publication, saying it did not contain any classified material. However, the agency later gave in to demands from the White House that some of the material be taken out.

What was in the article had already in fact been covered extensively by other sources, but was removed from Leverett’s and Mann’s article. There are therefore numerous citations to explain the article, due to the blacked-out portions.

From their second article:

National security must be above politics. In a democracy, transparency in government has to be honored and protected. To classify information for reasons other than the safety and security of the United States and its interests is a violation of these principles. It is for this reason that we will continue to press for the release of the article without the material deleted.

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(Edited to fix link)

Josh Wolf Still in Prison

18 November 2006

A federal appeal court refused to rehear Josh Wolf’s case, according to Reporters Without Borders, though he has been in prison since September 18th. He will probably have to stay in prison until July 2007, when he will have a chance of being released on bail.

Josh Wolf is in prison for refusing to give up undeited footage of a July 2005 protest that might show who vandalized a police car.

“This young blogger does not represent any threat to national security, so keeping him in custody is a completely disproportionate step,” said RSF. “The judges seem to want to teach a lesson to Wolf, a young man whose insolence exasperated them, when their role should have been simply to give the law,” it added.

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False Copyright Suit

2 November 2006

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is filing suit against a website owner who made baseless copyright claims recently, according to their press release. The website owner, Michael Crook, became a somewhat controversial figure after he began craigslist-perverts.com, and one journalist, Jeff Diehl, posted a website regarding the issue. Mr. Diehl’s website included a stillshot of a Fox News interview with Crook, and Crook sent a letter demanding he take it off the website, saying that he owned the copyright, despite the fact that such a stillshot is clearly fair use and Fox News owned the copyright anyway.

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Exit Polling Ban Ruled Uncontitutional

30 October 2006

A law that would have extended the ban on electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place to exit polling as well was ruled unconstitutional in Florida recently, according to the Feminist Wire. Prohibiting pollsters from coming within 100 feet would have made polling difficult, and there was no reason to believe that exit polling in any way affected voters’ opinions.

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Foreign Press Monitored

10 October 2006

A number of major US universities, with funding from the Department of Homeland Security, are attempting to develop software to more efficiently monitor the view of the US in foreign press, according to the International Herald Tribune. The project will be given $2.4 million over three years.

Apparently the software will be able to distinguish between phrases like “This spaghetti is good,” and “This spaghetti is excellent,” which is vital because often the difference between “good” and “excellent” can be a threat to national security.

Phrases like “The U.S. is the first nation to have developed nuclear weapons. Moreover, the U.S. is the first and only nation ever to deploy such weapons,” would be noted by the software.

No doubt this will save hundreds of lives.

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