United States Falls 27 Points In Ranking Of Press Freedom Behind Comoros and Taiwan

The respected Reporters Without Borders has issued its annual report and ranking of press freedom. You might have some initial difficulty locating the United States . . . it is 27 points lower on the ranking due to the mistreatment of journalists in this country. You will find us just after Comoros and Taiwan and in the company of Argentina and Romania. In the recent column on “10 Reasons The U.S. Is No Longer The Land Of The Free,” I was not able due to space to include press freedoms and others. This report, however, should be a wake up call for civil libertarians.

The United States fell from 20th to 47th in the ranking.

The organization noted an increase rate of arrests of journalists around the world, including U.S. journalists during “Occupy” protests.

The nation at the top of the ranking of press freedom is Finland followed by Norway and Estonia, the Netherlands, and Austria.

The worst is Eritrea which just nudged out North Korea as the least free place on Earth for Journalists.

The most deadly place for journalists last year was Pakistan.

As discussed in the earlier column, we often treated the United States as obviously the most free nation of Earth despite objective standards that contradict those assumptions. The result is a type of collective delusion as our protections from government abuse and power fall. A free press is critical in those protections, as repeatedly stated by the Supreme Court. Most of the abuse by the government in the last decade were disclosed not by the Congress or the courts. They were disclosed through the free press. Perhaps at the next presidential debate we can get the candidates to pledge to fight to pass Comoros in this year’s competition.

Source: Daily Mail

17 thoughts on “United States Falls 27 Points In Ranking Of Press Freedom Behind Comoros and Taiwan”

  1. (Refer to links in previous comment)

    New press freedom group is launched to block US government attacks

    Nothing is more vital than enabling true transparency and adversarial journalism, and preventing further assaults on them

    by Glenn Greenwald



    The primary impetus for the formation of this group was to block the US government from ever again being able to attack and suffocate an independent journalistic enterprise the way it did with WikiLeaks. Government pressure and the eager compliance of large financial corporations (such as Visa, Master Card, Bank of America, etc.) has – by design – made it extremely difficult for anyone to donate to WikiLeaks, while many people are simply afraid to directly support the group (for reasons I explained here).

    We intend to raise funds ourselves and then distribute it to the beneficiaries we name. The first group of beneficiaries includes WikiLeaks. We can circumvent those extra-legal, totally inappropriate blocks that have been imposed on the group. We can enable people to support WikiLeaks without donating directly to it by donating to this new organization that will then support a group of deserving independent journalism outlets, one of which is WikiLeaks. In sum, we will render impotent the government’s efforts to use its coercive pressure over corporations to suffocate not only WikiLeaks but any other group it may similarly target in the future.

    The second purpose is to ensure that truly independent journalistic outlets – devoted to holding the US government and other powerful factions accountable with transparency and real adversarial journalism – are supported to the fullest extent possible. Along those lines, we have selected three other organizations along with WikiLeaks as our initial beneficiaries:

    Muckrock News, a truly innovative group devoted to enabling any citizen easily and quickly to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or public records requests with the government, and then “guides the requests through the system so the government does not disregard” them. They also act as a news organization by analyzing and publicizing any newsworthy information they and their users uncover. Currently, “they are conducting a Drone Census of the United States, filing public records requests around the country that ask police agencies if they plan on buying domestic drones for surveillance purposes.”

    The UpTake, a Minnesota-based group that uses truly innovative means to break “down walls of power to expose the raw truth by pushing for transparency and access to information.” They use citizen journalism, crowd-sourcing and cutting-edge technology to film and document the bad acts of government agents. I worked next to them when I covered the incredibly excessive federal and local police actions and brutality against protesters at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, and was truly impressed with them then, as I watched all sorts of young activists and older ones use hand-held video cameras and phones to comprehensively cover all sorts of police abuses being ignored by most large journalistic outlets, which were comfortably ensconced inside the convention hall. They’ve expanded their operations substantially since then, have a long list of achievements to tout, and – most excitingly to me – can serve as a template for how to engage in real journalism across the country using citizens and the power of technology.

    The National Security Archive, a group founded “by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy” and which “combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents.” It also “serves as an advocacy organization to defend and expand citizen access to government information”, as exemplified by its having “filed over 40,000 targeted Freedom of Information and declassification requests to more than 200 offices and agencies of the United States.” Anyone who writes about or works on transparency and civil liberties issues (including me) depends on it; due to its efforts, “more than 10 million pages of previously secret U.S. government documents have been made public.”

    Each of these groups is innovating real, adversarial journalism. They deserve the support of anyone who believes that rampant government secrecy and a supine establishment media are serious problems. And our new organization needs the support of everyone who finds the ability of the US government to shut off the funding of journalistic groups it dislikes to be threatening and wrong.

    By clicking here, you can donate to all four of these groups at once or to any combination of them in whatever amounts you specify. Every two months, we will release a new bundle of deserving groups or individuals devoted to these values of independent, adversarial journalism and in need. You can also donate directly to the Freedom of Press Foundation, which will distribute the funds to the beneficiaries in accordance with our published criteria. All of the details of the group’s operation, mission, and goals are here. Those who lack the resources to donate can help in other ways, listed here.

    Secrecy is the linchpin of abuse of power. Few priorities are more important, in my view, than supporting and enabling any efforts to subvert the ability of the US government and other factions to operate in the dark. It’s particularly vital to undercut the US government’s ability to punish and kill groups that succeed in these transparency efforts. Those are the goals to which this new press freedom foundation are devoted, and I hope that anyone who believes these goals are important will find ways to support this effort.

  2. Here’s listening to OWS for you! From Democracy Now. Link below:

    “400 Occupy Oakland Protesters Arrested

    Police in Oakland, California, have arrested more than 400 Occupy Oakland protesters, as well as a number of journalists, in one of the largest mass arrests since the nationwide Occupy protests began last year. Police fired tear gas, bean bag projectiles and flash grenades. The protest began when activists attempted to take over a vacant convention center to establish a new headquarters and to draw attention to the problem of homelessness. A group of protesters later entered Oakland City Hall and caused some property damage. Protesters and Oakland officials blamed each other for sparking the violence.

    National Park Service Threatens to Evict Occupy D.C. Protesters

    In Washington, D.C., the National Park Service has said it will begin enforcing a ban today on Occupy protesters camping overnight in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, two parks near the White House where they have been living since October.”

  3. The point being is– if we pay attention to what is happening we will understand what this govt. is about. Our rights are being stripped out piece by piece by violent force and by sophisticated propaganda. Both have their uses and both work on different people in different ways.

    If we understand what this govt. is really about we will take peaceful action to stop it from taking our rights. That is what OWS is about and it is why the govt. fears OWS protests enough to show their violent side, even in an election year.

  4. Document, document, document. The myth of a free press is finally being exposed … again.

  5. It’s no surprise that the govt. really likes to go after OWS press. They are in full “message sending” mode about OWS in general. This movement poses a real threat to them and they are trying to “take care of it”. The govt. has their plans in place for the conventions as well. Any G-8 or G-20 summit is an excellent place to check out our press freedoms. Perhaps this is all being done so terrorists won’t hate us for our freedoms? Yes, that’s probably it. They are taking them all away for our own protection!

    We are also a heavily censored society. The ACLU writes about “Ideological Exclusion”. The US government is denying visas to foreign nationals whose political views the government disfavors.”

    Watch also how our “free” press neatly falls into line on attacking Iran just as it did with Iraq.

    Between the exclusion of ideas which the govt. does not want people to hear and beating the crap out of journalists who actually do report on those embarrassing police state actions of the US govt., we’ll not be bothered by anyone hating our freedoms in no time!

  6. Journalists—Myself Included—Swept Up in Mass Arrest at Occupy Oakland
    —By Gavin Aronsen
    | Sun Jan. 29, 2012

    On Saturday, Occupy Oakland re-entered the national spotlight during a day-long effort to take over an empty building and transform it into a social center. Oakland police thwarted the efforts, arresting more than 400 people in the process, primarily during a mass nighttime arrest outside a downtown YMCA. That number included at least six journalists, myself included, in direct violation of OPD media relations policy that states “media shall never be targeted for dispersal or enforcement action because of their status.”

    After an unsuccessful afternoon effort to occupy a former convention center, the more than 1,000 protesters elected to return to the site of their former encampment outside City Hall. On the way, they clashed with officers, advancing down a street with makeshift shields of corrugated metal and throwing objects at a police line. Officers responded with smoke grenades, tear gas, and bean bag projectiles. After protesters regrouped, they marched through downtown as police pursued and eventually contained a few hundred of them in an enclosed space outside a YMCA. Some entered the gym and were arrested inside.

    As soon as it became clear that I would be kettled with the protesters, I displayed my press credentials to a line of officers and asked where to stand to avoid arrest. In past protests, the technique always proved successful. But this time, no officer said a word. One pointed back in the direction of the protesters, refusing to let me leave. Another issued a notice that everyone in the area was under arrest.

    I wound up in a back corner of the space between the YMCA and a neighboring building, where I met Vivian Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle and Kristin Hanes of KGO Radio. After it became clear that we would probably have to wait for hours there as police arrested hundreds of people packed tightly in front of us, we maneuvered our way to the front of the kettle to display our press credentials once more.

    When Hanes displayed hers, an officer shook his head. “That’s not an Oakland pass,” he told her. “You’re getting arrested.” (She had a press pass issued by San Francisco, but not Oakland, police.) Another officer rejected my credentials, and I began interviewing soon-to-be-arrested protesters standing nearby. About five minutes later, an officer grabbed my arm and zip-tied me. Around the same time, Ho—who did have official OPD credentials—was also apprehended.

  7. No surprise here. I would write more, but I may get tazed or gassed if I write more while I sit here in my free speech zone.

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