US Government Accused of Attacking Journalistic Liberty

by Sampsonia Way    /  May 29, 2013  / Comments Off

Associated Press logo, Creative Commons; Fox News logo, Copyright News Corporation.

The US government has been accused of attacking freedom of the press in two recent cases. In early May, it was revealed that several journalists at the Associated Press were under surveillance by the Department of Justice. Furthering the matters, on May 20, it was reported that the Department of Justice had monitored Fox News journalist James Rosen’s cell phone and email activity. The US news media has responded with harsh criticism of the Obama Administration and the Department of Justice, going so far as to call their intrusions unconstitutional. Today, Sampsonia Way provides links to some of the main articles, editorial columns, statements from free press organizations, and videos on both cases.

Phone Records of Journalists Seized by U.S.

The New York Times, May 13. Federal investigators secretly seized two months of phone records for reporters and editors of The Associated Press in what the news organization said Monday was a “serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.” Read Here.

AP Reporter Questions Carney on DOJ AP Scandal: ‘Doesn’t Responsibility Rest with the President?’

Youtube, WeAreTheSavageNation, May 14. Press Secretary Jay Carney held a press conference on various matters. AP reporter Kuhnenn gets the first question and accuses both Carney and the President of avoiding taking responsibility for the issue. Video starts at 3:06.

President Obama Doesn’t Comment on Allegations of Overreach in AP Case

Washington Post, May 14. Asked whether his Justice Department went too far in gathering phone records of Associated Press journalists, President Obama answered that he couldn’t comment on a “pending case.” What he could do, he proclaimed, was speak “broadly about the balance we have to strike” between press freedoms and national security. Read Here.

No, the Justice Department Did Not Wiretap the House Cloakroom

The Atlantic Wire, May 16. “There’s no indication that the Department of Justice wiretapped anything, which involves listening in on telephone conversations. If someone got ahold of your cell phone bill, you have not been ‘wiretapped.’” Read Here.

Recommendations for a Federal Law Protecting Journalists’ Sources

Reporters Without Borders, May 17. The White House supports the reintroduction of a proposed federal shield law in the Senate. Reporters Without Borders has drafted detailed recommendations for such a law. Read Here.

Mitch McConell Defends Obama Administration on AP Scandal

Huffington Post, May 19. Senate Majority Leader defends Obama Admin, saying that the department’s actions do not violate the First Amendment because the investigation was meant to protect Americans. Read Here.

Obama Worse Than Nixon?

Democracy Now, May 19. The Justice Department’s disclosure that it had secretly subpoenaed phone records from the Associated Press prompted a wave of comparisons between President Obama and Richard Nixon. Read Here.

Obama Dodges Question on Nixon Comparison

The Boston Globe, May 19. As President Obama stood amidst the splendor of the Rose Garden, he was asked about the comparisons between himself and one of the Oval Office’s most notorious prior occupants. Read Here.

A Rare Peek Into a Justice Department Leak Probe

Washington Post, May 19. The case of Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, the government adviser, and James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, bears striking similarities to a sweeping leaks investigation in which federal investigators obtained records of more than 20 telephone lines assigned to the Associated Press. Read here.

Obama Department of Justice Formally Accuses Journalist in Leak Case of Committing Crimes

The Guardian, May 20. Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen had his emails monitored by the Obama Department of Justice. The Department accused him of being a co-conspirator in a criminal leak case. Read here.

5 Overlooked Lessons From the AP Subpoena Controversy and Other Leak Investigations

Huffington Post, May 20. According to Cindy Cohn, there are several important lessons that these scandals can teach reporters and citizens besides how important free and uninhibited newsgathering is to the public’s right to know. Read Here.

CPJ Board Protests Secret Seizure of AP Phone Records

Committee to Protect Journalists, May 21. CPJ board writes to Attorney General Eric Holder to protest the secret seizing of Associated Press phone records. Read Here.

On Freedom of Speech, Obama-Nixon Comparisons are Apt

Salon, May 22. Salon writes that the metaphor between Watergate and Nixon’s legacy and the recent posture of the Obama administration toward press freedom rings true. Read Here.

The Leaks Scandals: Questions For Obama

The New Yorker, May 22. The first of seven questions for Obama: Without getting into the details of individual cases, have you discussed with Attorney General Holder the Administration’s over-all attitude toward pursuing leakers? If so, what was the guidance you gave him? Read Here.

Freedom Begins at Home

Foreign Policy, May 23. How can the Obama administration credibly promote freedom of speech abroad while restricting it in the United States? Read Here.

Obama Orders Justice Department Review After Fox News, AP Phone Records Seized

Fox News, May 23. President Obama said he is “troubled” by the developments of the controversy and that journalists should not be “at legal risk.” Read Here.

About the Author

Sampsonia Way is an online magazine sponsored by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh that seeks to protect and advocate for writers who may be endangered, to educate the public about threats to writers and literary expression, and to create a community in which endangered writers thrive and literary culture is a valued part of life.

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