Thursday, February 02, 2012

Freedom of the Press? We're #47!

Media watchdog organization, Reporters Without Borders, has just released their World Press Freedom Index - a tracking of several indicators of press freedom - and the United Sates has fallen 27 points since their last survey; from #20 to #47. That puts us behind Slovakia, El Salvador, and Ghana, but still (slightly) ahead of Latvia and Haiti.

Much of the reason for the sharp drop this year is attributed to local over-reaction to the Occupy movement, with mayors and police chiefs nationwide having journalists carried away along with demonstrators. The great irony in all this is that American journalists now have greater freedom in covering protests overseas than they do at home.

But beyond last fall's local yahoos trying to make their city streets safe for holiday shoppers, the crackdown on a free press in America continued yesterday in Washington, DC, at a hearing of the House Science Committee, where Oscar-nominated documentary director, Josh Fox, was arrested for trying to film part of the hearing:

As Fox says in this interview, "The First Amendment to the Constitution states explicitly 'Congress shall make no law... that infringes on the Freedom of the Press.'" Is Congress exempt from the Constitution now, or have we just decided that we no longer need a free press?

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