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Hattem writes: "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.'"

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

US Ranks 41st on Global Press Freedom List

By Julian Hattem, The Hill

20 April 16


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.

The Obama administration has been harshly criticized by press freedom advocates for an intensified crackdown on government officials who knowingly leak information to the press. Since President Obama entered office in 2009, his administration has used a 1917 anti-espionage law against leakers more than all other administrations combined.

At the top of the 180-nation World Press Freedom Index is Finland, which has been No. 1 for the last five years.

At the bottom is Eritrea, a small East African nation that has been accused of severe human rights abuses.

Overall, the 2016 report reflects continued anxiety about free press from authoritarian leaders, claimed Reporters Without Borders secretary general Christophe Deloire.

“It is unfortunately clear that many of the world’s leaders are developing a form of paranoia about legitimate journalism,” he said in a statement. “The climate of fear results in a growing aversion to debate and pluralism, a clampdown on the media by ever more authoritarian and oppressive governments, and reporting in the privately-owned media that is increasingly shaped by personal interests.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who chairs the congressional caucus for freedom of the press, said in a statement that the Wednesday report “paints a sad and dangerous picture for journalists across the world.”

“We must take this matter seriously, and commit ourselves to actions that preserve and defend the rights of journalists at home and abroad,” he added. your social media marketing partner


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+17 # Buddha 2016-04-20 16:00
As bad as Obama has been attacking whistleblowers, I'd say the far greater assault on our "press" has come from it over the last few decades being consolidated into very few Oligarchic MegaCorporate hands, where pushing political agendas and narratives became far more important than true investigative journalism and informing the public of issues of national importance. Most of the Mainstream "press" is a total joke today, you get little investigatory journalism and even less truth from most newspapers and TV/radio media.
+7 # m... 2016-04-20 22:20
''US Ranks 41st on Global Press Freedom List''

WOW...!! That High..!?!?!
Now that is a surprise...
+5 # since1492 2016-04-20 22:30
"The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands—the ownership and control of their livelihoods—are set at naught, we can have neither men's rights nor women's rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease."
—Helen Keller, 1911
+6 # m... 2016-04-20 22:39
Just a followup
It seems that if we read the Constitution in simple, literal terms without even resorting to a level say like the NRA's Super-Hyper-Lit eral ways-- Am I the only one who sees an 'Aggregate' 'Collective' and 'Systematic-Add ing-Up-To' over the course of time, the stark fact that Congress, as a continuing Body greater than the sum of even its many small minded parts that come and go through the course of time and elections, has indeed VIOLATED The First Amendment through the act of foisting the almost complete 'Non-Regulation ' of Media Ownership upon us through collective acts of systematically Deregulating Media Ownership Rules over time in the flim flam interests of that snake oil they like to call 'Smaller Government'.., which, in its wake, has left America literally with a PRESS that is now very narrowly owned, operated, exploited AND beholden first and foremost as mandated by law, by and to the 'profit and power' interests of just a very few Super Wealthy Global Shareholders?
And, isn't that very much an in-our-face form of Congress having 'Abridged the Freedom of the Press?'
Would any Constitutional Lawyer out there care to comment here for us about this..?
Is there a Supreme Court Case to be made through the route of a Constitutional Challenge to the Collective Actions of Congress over the past 3 decades, rather than pinning any hopes on a non-corrupt Congress anytime soon that might even consider looking into it let alone doing anything about it?
+3 # danireland46 2016-04-21 07:06
Reporters in America are content with picking up their check and reporting whatever their plutocratic masters want. The 4th estate lives on only in the hearts of those intrepid independent reporters in the free press (internet plus).
+1 # reiverpacific 2016-04-21 09:36
Wonder where it stands on any "World wide press quality" survey?
I shudder to think.

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