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A Free Press Has A Responsibility To Be Fair

A Free Press Has A Responsibility To Be Fair

The So-called Free Press Includes Many Parts

Surging Media Bias has blown away the notion the free press will be fair and this year it seems these players that shape our opinions are  doubling down. This was demonstrated when allegations regarding Hunter Biden and a laptop with damning E-mails surfaced. Rather than letting people see and decide what to think about this information the response of Twitter and Facebook, was to shut it down and block it from getting out. This is where the power of tech companies flexing their muscles allows us to see they have become a major force in the media. Other news outlets also imposed a virtual blackout on the allegations. It didn’t matter that thousands of emails were available for review or that the Bidens did not directly address the material. It was all declared to be fake news.

The idea of having a press that is free to cover the news is generally linked to the idea they will be fair because the freedom of free speech generally comes with a degree of responsibility. A common example is how freedom of speech should give someone the right to speak their mind but not scream fire in a crowded theater. This is where discussions concerning the press and President Trump get sticky. Somewhere in what often slips into an argument is the role of the media in presenting an unbiased view of events. This is complicated by the fact many news outlets have moved more towards an entertainment format. Rather than presenting the cold hard facts, they have found it is sensationalism that draws viewers.

 

 

Stahl Told The President He Is Lying

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France threatens journalists with jail time for exposing use of French arms in Yemen

France threatens journalists with jail time for exposing use of French arms in Yemen

French journalists could face up to five years in prison and be fined up to $83,000

France is ranked 32nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index (AFP)By MEE and agencies

France has threatened three French journalists with potential jail time for using secret documents to reveal the country’s involvement in the Yemen civil war. 

In a series of reports published in April, investigative journalists from Disclose and Radio France revealed the number of French arms sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. REVEALED: The full extent of US arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAERead More »

The documents, authored by France’s Directorate of Military Intelligence (DSGI), showed that senior French officials had lied about the role of French weapons in the Yemen War. 

Following the publication of the reports in April, Disclose’s co-founders Geoffrey Livolsi and Mathias Destal and Radio France journalist Benoît Collombat were asked to attend a hearing at the DSGI headquarters in Paris. 

The three journalists refused to reveal their sources after being questioned by the DSGI on the origin of the document, their work and posts on Facebook and Twitter.

The journalists used the hearing to defend press freedom and how it was in the public interest to publish details from the leaked DSGI document. 

Press Freedom has been protected for more than 130 years under the Press Law of 1881, which gives journalists the right to keep sources confidential. 

We are concerned that the sole aim of this hearing is to use the threat of prosecution to put pressure on these journalists to reveal their source

– Paul Coppin, Reporters Without Borders

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Prisoner for Free Speech: the Relentless Pursuit of Julian Assange

Prisoner for Free Speech: the Relentless Pursuit of Julian Assange

CNN correspondent Jim Acosta returned to the White House on 17 November, a few days after a US judge had forced President Donald Trump to reverse the revocation of his press pass. Smiling before 50 or more photographers and cameramen, Acosta said triumphantly: ‘This was a test and I think we passed the test. Journalists need to know that in this country their First Amendment rights of freedom of the press are sacred, they’re protected in our constitution. Throughout all of this I was confident and I thought that … our rights would be protected as we continue to cover our government and hold our leaders accountable.’ Fade-out, happy ending.

Julian Assange probably did not watch the moving conclusion of this story live on CNN. He sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London six years ago, and his life there has become that of a prisoner: he cannot go outside for fear of being arrested by the British police, then probably extradited to the US; his access to communications is limited and he has been harassed repeatedly since Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, decided to please the US and make conditions less comfortable for his ‘guest’.

The reason for his detention, and the threat of several decades in prison in the US (in 2010 Trump wanted him executed), is his WikiLeaks website which has been behind the major revelations that have inconvenienced the world’s powerful over the last decade: photographic evidence of US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, US industrial espionage, secret bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. The dictatorship of former Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was shaken by the leaking of a US State Department cable that referred to this kleptocracy, a US ally, as a ‘sclerotic regime’ and ‘quasi-mafia’.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Free Press Advocates Alarmed by US Government’s “Terrifying” Secret Rules for Spying on Journalists

Free Press Advocates Alarmed by US Government’s “Terrifying” Secret Rules for Spying on Journalists

“It makes me wonder, what other rules are out there, and how have these rules been applied?”

spy eye

Press freedom advocates have obtained and released federal government documents detailing an invasive process officials can use to spy on journalists. (Photo: ACLU)

Journalists and free press advocates are responding with alarm to newly released documents revealing the U.S. government’s secret rules for using Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders to spy on reporters, calling the revelations “important” and “terrifying.”

The documents—obtained and released by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed last November—confirm long held suspicions that federal officials can target journalists with FISA orders.


New documents – obtained by and – appear to confirm longstanding suspicion that government has relied on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor journalist communications.

1:25 PM – 17 Sep 2018

The two 2015 memos from former Attorney General Eric Holder to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lay out procedures to ensure that the attorney general or deputy attorney general signs off on any FISA applications “targeting known media entities or known members of the media.”

These secret rules, as Cora Currier reported for The Intercept, “apply to media entities or journalists who are thought to be agents of a foreign government, or, in some cases, are of interest under the broader standard that they possess foreign intelligence information.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

End of ‘free’ press? NYT caved in to Bush & Obama, held NSA bombshell for 1 yr – James Risen

End of ‘free’ press? NYT caved in to Bush & Obama, held NSA bombshell for 1 yr – James Risen

End of ‘free’ press? NYT caved in to Bush & Obama, held NSA bombshell for 1 yr – James Risen
The New York Times was “quite willing” to quash stories at the behest of the government, writes Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen. He warns that America’s press has been muzzled by “hyped threats” to national security.

In an in-depth retelling of his experience as a national security reporter for the New York Times (NYT), published in The Intercept, Risen explains how, on more than one occasion, the NYT yielded to government demands to withhold or kill his stories – including a bombshell report about the NSA’s secret surveillance program under President George W. Bush.

Jaded by previous experiences of US government interference in his work, Risen writes that his NSA story set him on a “collision course” with his editors, “who were still quite willing to cooperate with the government.” His editors at the Times had been convinced by top US officials that revealing the illegal surveillance program would endanger American lives, Risen said.

Bill Keller, the then executive editor of Times, said the newspaper’s decision to shelve the explosive report, which detailed how the NSA had “monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years,” was motivated by the lingering “trauma” of the 9/11 terror attacks, and the sobering reality that the “world was a dangerous place.”

Risen’s NSA scoop, which later won him a Pulitzer Prize, was eventually published a year after he submitted it to his seniors – but only after Bush had been safely re-elected. Risen said that upon hearing the story was finally going to print, Bush telephoned Arthur Sulzberger, the Times’s publisher, requesting a private meeting to convince him against running the story.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Has Trump Made It Easier to Spy on Journalists? Lawsuit Demands Answers.

National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina (2ndR), US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) and bodyguards stand at the Department of Justice during an announcement about leaking of classified information on August 4, 2017 in Washington, DC.US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday condemned the 'staggering number' of leaks emanating from President Donald Trump's administration, as he vowed a crackdown on people revealing classified or sensitive national security information. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

PRESS FREEDOM GROUPS filed suit today to force the government to disclose more about how and when it obtains journalists’ communications, amid reports that the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pursuing a record number of leak investigations.

The question the groups hope to answer is whether the Trump administration — openly hostile toward news media — has jettisoned or modified rules that limit the government’s ability to spy on journalists while they do their jobs.

Those rules were made more stringent by former President Barack Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder in 2014, after outcry when it was revealed that the administration had secretly obtained call records from the Associated Press and surveilled a Fox News reporter, naming him a co-conspirator in a national security leak case. Holder pledged that his department would go after journalists’ records in criminal cases only as a “last resort.”

Carrie DeCell, a staff attorney with Knight First Amendment Institute, which is bringing the suit along with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, said that “we have seen the DOJ media guidelines that Obama released, but we understand that Sessions is reconsidering those guidelines, and the way the government uses subpoenas against journalists.”

In August, Sessions announced that his department was reviewing the guidelines as part of a crackdown on leaks but did not specify what changes might be made. Sessions also told Congress this month that he has 27 investigations open into leaks of classified information to reporters – compared to just three last year. (Not all leaks are illegal, and many of the disclosures that Trump has publicly complained about would likely not be considered criminal.)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Europe: Journalists Against Free Speech

  • Gone is all pretense that journalism is about reporting the facts. These are the aims of a political actor.
  • Being bought and paid for by the EU apparently counts as “press freedom” these days.
  • According to the guidelines, journalists should, among other things, “Provide an appropriate range of opinions, including those belonging to migrants and members of minorities, but… not… extremist perspectives just to ‘show the other side’…. Don’t allow extremists’ claims about acting ‘in the name of Islam’ to stand unchallenged…. where it is necessary and newsworthy to report hateful comments against Muslims, mediate the information.”

The European Federation of Journalists (EJF), “the largest organization of journalists in Europe, represents over 320,000 journalists in 71 journalists’ organizations across 43 countries,” according to its website. The EJF, a powerful player, also leads a Europe-wide campaign called “Media against Hate.”

The “Media against Hate” campaign aims to:

“counter hate speech[1] and discrimination in the media, both on and offline… media and journalists play a crucial role in informing…policy … regarding migration and refugees. As hate speech and stereotypes targeting migrants proliferate across Europe… #MediaAgainstHate campaign aims to: improve media coverage related to migration, refugees, religion and marginalised groups… counter hate speech, intolerance, racism and discrimination… improve implementation of legal frameworks regulating hate speech and freedom of speech…”

Gone is all pretense that journalism is about reporting the facts. These are the aims of a political actor.

A very large political actor is, in fact, involved in the “Media against Hate” campaign. The campaign is one of several media programs supported by the EU under its Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC). In the REC program for 2017, the EU Commission, the EU’s executive body, writes:

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Egypt Bars Journalist From Leaving Country as Crackdown on Dissent Widens

One of Egypt’s leading investigative journalists, Hossam Bahgat, was prevented from boarding a flight to Jordan today when officials at Cairo International Airport informed him that his name had been added to a list of citizens barred from traveling abroad.

Bahgat, who was detained and interrogated for three days in November by military intelligence officers, wrote on Facebook that officials at the airport told him that the order confining him to the country had come from Egypt’s public prosecutor, but they could provide no details of any case against him.

With some exasperation, the reporter pointed out that this surprise punishment by the Egyptian judicial system came as he was on his way to Jordan “to participate in the United Nations meeting on justice in the Arab world!”

The travel ban was quickly condemned by Egyptian activists, including Heba Morayef, the associate director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a prominent human rights group that Bahgat founded and led before turning his attention to journalism after the country’s 2011 revolution. Writing on Twitter, Morayef observed that the space for dissent against Egypt’s authoritarian government seemed to be narrowing, given that the restrictions on Bahgat were imposed just weeks after a similar ban was placed on Gamal Eid, a lawyer with the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, and days after health officials ordered the closure of El Nadeem, a renowned clinic for the rehabilitation of torture victims.


Hossam Bahgat has just been banned from travel. After Gamal Eid travel ban + Nadim Center closure order. Closing in.

Turkey Arrests Journalists Who Exposed Erdogan’s Weapons Smuggling To Extremist Syrian Rebels

Turkey Arrests Journalists Who Exposed Erdogan’s Weapons Smuggling To Extremist Syrian Rebels

One of Turkish president Recep Erdogan’s key contentions in the ongoing diplomatic spat with Russia is that everything that Russia has accused Turkey of doing, from funding the Islamic State’s oil purchases, to providing weapons for Syrian “rebels” intent on eradicating the Assad regime, is unfounded slander without a shred of evidence.

Here is the problem: evidence does exist, as we showed two days ago, when we presented the role Erdogan’s son Bilal has played in ISIS oil transit, and not only that but also proof that Turkey has been smuggling weapons to Syria as the editor and a reporter from Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper showed some time ago.

And in order to eradicate the evidence against him, yesterday Erdogan did what every dictator does when feeling threatened: he had the editor and his reported detained, jailed and accused of espionage precisely over the controversial story about an alleged arms shipment from Turkish intelligence to Syrian rebels.

The two Cumhuriyet journalists were accused of “political or military spying” by reporting “classified information” and “deliberately aiding a terrorist organization.”

In fact, Erdogan personally sued Dundar and is requesting that he be given a life sentence, an aggravated life sentence and an additional 42-year term in prison on charges related to a variety of crimes, ranging from espionage to attempting to topple the government and exposing secret information.

What the reporters were really doing is their job.

As the WSJ reports, “Turkish authorities on Thursday imprisoned Can Dundar, editor in chief of Cumhuriyet, and Erdem Gul, the newspaper’s capital correspondent in Ankara, on charges of spying and aiding a terrorist organization, the newspaper’s attorney said. If convicted, the two men would face life in prison over the charges.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Obama prosecuted whistleblowers for working with media, not with foreign govts – Assange to RT

Obama prosecuted whistleblowers for working with media, not with foreign govts – Assange to RT

©

“Academic censorship” in journalism and foreign relations is one of the US’ greatest sins according to whistleblower Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Assange spoke to RT about the “US Empire” and mechanisms it uses to expand its powers worldwide.

Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the espionage act than all previous presidents combined – more than twice as many,” Assange told RT’s Afshin Rattansi in a London interview.

Of course he [Obama] says that’s espionage, but there is no allegation that any of these people have given their secrets to a foreign government or are working with a foreign government: allegations are they are working with the media,” he added.


says it was he who advised to turn to Moscow for refuge http://on.rt.com/6q5h 

 

The Case of John Peter Zenger and the Fight for a Free Press

The Case of John Peter Zenger and the Fight for a Free Press

This week marks the 280th anniversary of a landmark event in the history of a free press: the trial of John Peter Zenger in New York. Zenger, publisher of the New-York Weekly Journal, was found not guilty of seditious libel by a 12-member jury at a two-day trial that began on August 4, 1735.

The charge was brought by a tyrannical colonial governor of New York, William Cosby, who accused Zenger of printing “false, scandalous, malicious and seditious” articles. The New York-Weekly Journal had been going after the governor, exposing his shady machinations.

Zenger, who had been jailed for nine months, was represented by Andrew Hamilton, considered the foremost lawyer in the colonies. Hamilton took the case pro bono, riding to the rescue from Pennsylvania where he had been former attorney-general.

Hamilton confounded the prosecution by admitting that Zenger had published the offending material, but he took the position that what was involved was the truth. Chief Justice James Delancey, a Cosby henchman, didn’t agree with the defense of truth.

But Hamilton’s response was that: “Leaving it to judgement of the court whether the words are libelous or not in effect renders juries useless.”

On August 5, Hamilton addressed the jury in an eloquent, brilliant summation—parts of which as a journalism professor I read to my students every semester.

Hamilton spoke about how it was “my duty, if required, to go to the utmost part of the land where my services could be of any use in assisting to quench the flames of prosecutions upon informations set on foot by the government, to deprive a people of the right of remonstrating and complaining, too, of the arbitrary attempts of men in power.”

He said: “Men who injure and oppress the people under their administration provoke them to cry out and complain, and then make that very complaint the foundation for new oppressions and prosecutions.”

Hamilton declared: “The question before the court and you, gentlemen of the jury, is not

 

 

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How The Media Deceive The Public About “Fast Track” And The “Trade Bills”

How The Media Deceive The Public About “Fast Track” And The “Trade Bills”

The way that “Fast Track” is described to the American public is as an alternative method for the Senate to handle “Trade Bills” (TPP & TTIP) that the President presents to the Senate for their approval; and this alternative method is said to be one in which “no amendments are permitted, and there will be a straight up-or-down vote on the bill.”

But, in fact, the “Fast Track” method is actually to require only 50 Senators to vote “Yea” in order for the measure to be approved by the Senate, whereas the method that is described and required in (Section 2 of) the U.S. Constitution is that the President “shall have the Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”  That’s not 50 Senators; it’s 67 Senators, that the Constitution requires.

In other words: “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority” (which was invented by the imperial President Richard Nixon in 1974, in order to advance his goal of a dictatorial Executive, that the Presidency would become a dictatorship) lowers the Constitutionally required approval from 67 Senators down to only 50 Senators.

This two-thirds rule is set forth in the Constitution in order to make especially difficult the passing-into-law of any treaty that the United States will have with any foreign country. The same two-thirds requirement is set forth for amending the Constitution, except that that’s a two-thirds requirement in both the House and the Senate: it can be done “by either: two-thirds (supermajority) of both the Senate and the House of Representatives …; or by a national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds (at present 34) of the states.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

Effort by Japan to Stifle News Media Is Working

Effort by Japan to Stifle News Media Is Working

It was an unexpected act of protest that shook Japan’s carefully managed media world: Shigeaki Koga, a regular television commentator and fierce critic of the political establishment, abruptly departed from the scripted conversation during a live TV news program to announce that this would be his last day on the show because, as he put it, network executives had succumbed to political pressure for his removal.

“I have suffered intense bashing by the prime minister’s office,” Mr. Koga told his visibly flabbergasted host late last month, saying he had been removed as commentator because of critical statements he had made about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Later in the program, Mr. Koga held up a sign that read “I am not Abe,” a play on the slogan of solidarity for journalists slain in January at a French satirical newspaper.

The outburst created a public firestorm, and not only because of the spectacle of Mr. Koga, a dour-faced former top government official, seemingly throwing away his career as a television commentator in front of millions of viewers. His angry show of defiance also focused national attention on the right-leaning government’s increased strong-arming of the news media to reduce critical coverage.

Many journalists and political experts say the Abe government is trying to engineer a fundamental shift in the balance of power between his administration and the news media, using tactics to silence criticism that go beyond anything his predecessors tried and that have frustrated many journalists. These have included more aggressive complaints to the bosses of critical journalists and commentators like Mr. Koga, and more blatant retaliation against outlets that persist in faulting the administration. At the same time, Mr. Abe has tried to win over top media executives and noted journalists with private sushi lunches.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chris Hedges: The Myth of the Free Press – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

Chris Hedges: The Myth of the Free Press – Chris Hedges – Truthdig.

There is more truth about American journalism in the film “Kill the Messenger,” which chronicles the mainstream media’s discrediting of the work of the investigative journalist Gary Webb, than there is in the movie “All the President’s Men,” which celebrates the exploits of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal.

The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism. They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia. The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses. The corporations, which own the press, hire journalists willing to be courtiers to the elites, and they promote them as celebrities. These journalistic courtiers, who can earn millions of dollars, are invited into the inner circles of power. They are, asJohn Ralston Saul writes, hedonists of power.

When Webb, writing in a 1996 series in the San Jose Mercury News, exposed the Central Intelligence Agency’s complicity in smuggling tons of cocaine for sale into the United States to fund the CIA-backed Contra rebels in Nicaragua, the press turned him into a journalistic leper. And over the generations there is a long list of journalistic lepers, from Ida B. Wells to I.F. Stone to Julian Assange.

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