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Reporters Without Borders’ “Predators of Press Freedom” List Missed US DOJ

photo: Wikimedia

If the Obama Department of Justice has its way, no reporters will publish whistle-blower accounts.

Reporters Without Borders issued a report today, naming forty Predators of Press Freedom. Why was the United States Department of Justice not on the list?

Here is how the list is described:

There are 40 names on this year’s list of Predators of Press Freedom – 40 politicians, government officials, religious leaders, militias and criminal organisations that cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.

Just last week, Glenn Greenwald described the powerful and dangerous actions of the Obama Department of Justice in whistle-blower cases:

In February, 2008, the Bush DOJ issued a subpoena to The New York Times’ James Risen, demanding the identity of his source(s) for one chapter in Risen’s best-selling book, State of War. The chapter in question described a painfully inept and counter-productive CIA effort to infiltrate the Iranian nuclear program, but which ended up instead passing on valuable information to the Iranians about how to build a bomb. At the time that subpoena was issued, I wrote that it was a serious and “dangerous” escalation of the ongoing effort by Bush officials to intimidate journalists and their sources in order to choke off whistle-blowing disclosures, “the sole remaining avenue for a country plagued by a supine, slothful, vapid press and an indescribably submissive Congress.” I don’t recall a single progressive or Democrat — not one — defending that subpoena.

It should surprise absolutely nobody that, as Charlie Savage reports, the Obama DOJ has now re-issued the same subpoena to Risen. As DOJ rules require [see Section III(A)(2)(l)], any such subpoenas (to journalists) require the personal approval of the Attorney General, and Savage reports that this subpoena was approved by Eric Holder. The reason such subpoenas are so dangerous is because journalists are duty-bound to their sources to refuse to comply, and will likely end up in prison if they don’t. Few things, if anything, are greater threats to the journalist-source relationship than DOJ subpoenas of this type.

The entire group of forty Predators of Press Freedom can be seen in photographs on the Reporters Without Borders home page by clicking on the “By group photo” tab at the bottom of the page. Perhaps if Risen is jailed by the time of next year’s report, the United States will have its own entry on the list of Predators of Press Freedom.

Is it possible that having Eric Holder’s photo appear alongside those of Mullah Omar and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would alert the Obama Administration to the dangers of the route is has chosen?

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Reporters Without Borders’ “Predators of Press Freedom” List Missed US DOJ

whistle

If the Obama Department of Justice has its way, no reporters will publish whistle-blower accounts.

Reporters Without Borders issued a report today, naming forty Predators of Press Freedom. Why was the United States Department of Justice not on the list?

Here is how the list is described:

There are 40 names on this year’s list of Predators of Press Freedom – 40 politicians, government officials, religious leaders, militias and criminal organisations that cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.

Just last week, Glenn Greenwald described the powerful and dangerous actions of the Obama Department of Justice in whistle-blower cases:

In February, 2008, the Bush DOJ issued a subpoena to The New York Times’ James Risen, demanding the identity of his source(s) for one chapter in Risen’s best-selling book, State of War. The chapter in question described a painfully inept and counter-productive CIA effort to infiltrate the Iranian nuclear program, but which ended up instead passing on valuable information to the Iranians about how to build a bomb. At the time that subpoena was issued, I wrote that it was a serious and "dangerous" escalation of the ongoing effort by Bush officials to intimidate journalists and their sources in order to choke off whistle-blowing disclosures, "the sole remaining avenue for a country plagued by a supine, slothful, vapid press and an indescribably submissive Congress." I don’t recall a single progressive or Democrat — not one — defending that subpoena.

It should surprise absolutely nobody that, as Charlie Savage reports, the Obama DOJ has now re-issued the same subpoena to Risen. As DOJ rules require [see Section III(A)(2)(l)], any such subpoenas (to journalists) require the personal approval of the Attorney General, and Savage reports that this subpoena was approved by Eric Holder. The reason such subpoenas are so dangerous is because journalists are duty-bound to their sources to refuse to comply, and will likely end up in prison if they don’t. Few things, if anything, are greater threats to the journalist-source relationship than DOJ subpoenas of this type.

The entire group of forty Predators of Press Freedom can be seen in photographs on the Reporters Without Borders home page by clicking on the "By group photo" tab at the bottom of the page. Perhaps if Risen is jailed by the time of next year’s report, the United States will have its own entry on the list of Predators of Press Freedom.

Is it possible that having Eric Holder’s photo appear alongside those of Mullah Omar and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would alert the Obama Administration to the dangers of the route is has chosen?

[Photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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Jim White

Jim White

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