Today is World Press Freedom Day and we have problems to fix

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Good afternoon:

Today is World Press Freedom Day.

The Freedom of the Press Clause in the First Amendment protects our right to know what our government is doing. Together with the Freedom of Speech Clause and the Freedom of Assembly Clause of the First Amendment, these three freedoms and the right to vote are essential to support our democracy.

Caroline Little, the president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, warns us today that governments around the world, including our own, are attacking journalists.

In May 2013, our nation learned about the secretive seizure of the phone records of Associated Press journalists. We soon learned that the intrusive monitoring was not isolated as Fox News James Rosen had been labeled a “possible co-conspirator” and his personal email and cell phone was monitored. The courts attempted to force New York Times reporter James Risen to disclose his confidential sources.

/snip/

Last July, Egypt’s authorities began targeting and arbitrarily persecuting local and foreign media members. Four Al-Jazeera reporters have been imprisoned since December for no clear crime.

In October, Queen Elizabeth signed a Royal Charter enabling government regulators to influence editorial content across media in England.

In the first three months of 2014, Russia launched a strategic assault on the last independent news station, and in March escalated its already strict censorship laws to target news sites.

Just weeks ago, Syria was named the most dangerous country for journalists, with a record of seven journalists murdered in 2013 and a rising number of targeted killings and abductions in the midst of the war.

Additionally, the Inter American Press Association passed a resolution – one we have added our voice to – condemning the actions in Venezuela where more than 100 journalists been arrested, threatened, or the victims of violence.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers, who provide journalists with verified and reliable inside information that our government is committing crimes and violating our constitutional rights on a daily basis, also violates our right to know what our government is doing.

The right to vote does not mean anything, if voters are denied access to information they need to know to make informed decisions.

We the people purchased our democracy with blood sweat and tears. We rejected the so-called divine right of kings to govern us without our informed consent.

The United States Supreme Court also has undermined our democracy in three decisions that,

(1) eliminate restrictions on the amount of money that corporations can contribute to candidates running for political office;

(2) uphold state laws eliminating affirmative action policies for admission to state colleges and universities; and

(3) approve state laws gutting the 1964 Voting Rights Act.

This is our 1005th post. If you appreciate what we do, please make a donation today.

Fred

8 Responses to Today is World Press Freedom Day and we have problems to fix

  1. bettykath says:

    Our media is pretty much a sick joke. There are some great journalists doing real investigative reporting and their outlets seem to be the internet. The outlets controlled by big money are basically parrots of propaganda.

    OT, some good news if the implementation lives up to its potential.

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/23463-wisconsin-passes-first-state-law-requiring-independent-investigations-of-police-custody-deaths

    excerpt:
    After relentless pressure from the families of shooting victims, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill, the first of its kind in the nation, requiring deaths in police custody to be investigated by outside organizations. Is there potential for similar bills to be passed elsewhere?

    When police kill, should they be the ones responsible for investigating and judging themselves? This is the question Michael Bell has been asking officials in Wisconsin ever since his 21-year-old son, who was named after him, was fatally shot by Kenosha police in front of the son’s mother and sister in 2004.

    And it was largely Bell’s activism – a publicity campaign involving billboards, newspapers ads and his website – that led to the recent passage of a historic law that will overhaul police review policies. It is the first law of its kind in the nation.

    The legislation, which Gov. Scott Walker recently signed into law, requires that deaths in police custody be investigated by an outside agency, using independently gathered evidence. Bell and about two dozen other family members of police victims attended the private signing ceremony.

    “It was a very healing moment for our family,” Bell told Truthout.

    Bell is a retired lieutenant colonel Air Force pilot and understands the nature of investigation, training and discipline in a profession that uses deadly force. He has pushed for criminal justice officials to take the same approach to investigations of police shootings as is taken with investigations of military plane crashes, which typically require impartial experts to review the facts.

    It took many years before any progress was made on the issue of independent investigations in police-custody deaths.

    Though his efforts have now been successful in Wisconsin, Bell says that for a long time, he was vilified for questioning police officials. It took many years before any progress was made on the issue of independent investigations in police-custody deaths.

    “I have a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy who was shot in the head while his hands were behind his back in handcuffs, being held down by another officer and there are five eyewitnesses, and his father is a retired Air Force colonel … and I [was] ignored and vilified. What must it be like for people [who] aren’t in that privileged class?” Bell asked.

  2. MKX says:

    Propaganda relies on deftly twisting a “truth” and not subjecting the “truth” to any modicum of critical thinking.

    For example, many a person in a whiteopia that I talk to will accept that black people are “drug users” because they read that black people are in jail for using “drugs” at a rate almost four times per 100,000 than white people.

    The irony {or should I say stupidity} is that the person expressing this opinion is often drinking an alcoholic beverage.

    And it is easy to debunk that “fact”.

    AMA studies using random sampling and other methods to remove bias reveal that illegal drugs usage per 100,000 is about the same for black or white people. These studies also show that there is a somewhat higher rate of alcohol consumption and prescription drug usage per 100,000 amongst white people.

    So why the higher incarceration rate for black people?

    In statistics, the rather obvious answer is that the legal system, taken as a whole, is engaging in selection bias.

    Anecdotally speaking, I witnessed an endless stream of white teens going into and out of the 24/7 drug emporium that set up shop next to my parents home in Detroit during the early 1990s. It got so bad, that my parents had to keep their porch light off and an old car at the end of the drive. My father was quite worried that the inevitable DEA raid would mistake his home for the correct one.

    Almost 30 years down the road, and I have yet to see any real journalism that goes into a critical analysis of the entire macroeconomics of the War on Drugs.

    Why?

    Because the answers would debunk a lot of “myths” about people of color.

    And our system need divide and conquer to keep the money flowing into the hands of the true criminals.

  3. Malisha says:

    We all know on some level that we’re reading what we’re meant to read, and not what actually has happened. In the early days of the Trayvon Martin case I discovered that the opening sentence of the news reports (thousands of them opened with the same sentence) was false. But they cared about the STORY, not about the veracity of their reports. Damn disappointing. We don’t even own knowledge any more; everything can be bought, and very little by the likes of us.

    • MKX says:

      The headlines that screamed “The Evidence Backs Zimmerpig’s Story” with a cheap distorted cell phone photo that clearly, if one took the time to compare all of the pigs story, should actually scream “That Boy’s a Liar”

      Besides this site, not one person in the media made the rather obvious observation that not one drop of blood was flowing out of the nares. So how, pray tell, was he choking on blood?

      It was never pointed out that, due to the cell phone camera being pushed close to the nose, there was a huge amount of image distortion. Or that, due to the bad lighting and cheap optics, there was significant color distortion.

      And it also should be rather obvious that there is not facial damage commensurate with 20-39 MMA style blows.

      Or the rather obvious fact that one must clean blood and fluid to accurately assess wounds. Which was done and shown by the PD photos which reveal a whole lot of nothing.

      Nah, the media was more interested in the well known fact that a skinny black male with no history of weight training has those special genes that allow him to say, “you got a problem homie”, and instantly become Mike Tyson; thus being able to kill any and all white males in the blink of an eye.

      I believe it is called the Taffe-Dunn-Limpball Effect.

      I am pissed of today.

      My wife is in France and told me this.

      Her Senegalese female friend who happens to, IMO, be very bright, a vice president of an international corporation with offices in the USA and France had some of her white male French employees who were to work under her quite because they could not be told what to do by “her”.

      Post racial world, my ass.

  4. colin black says:

    The press Is governed not only by Goverments .
    But cencored from within by editors un willing to give reporters there heads to ivestigate .

    Not the paper press but all media main streamout lets suffer from

    Self censorship as well as out side censorship.

    Thats why Bloggers and the whistle blowers on the internet terrify Goverments

    They can not as yet be closed down corraled and censors.

    Im all for surbertive gurilla style journolists if there integrtty an hearts are in the right places.

    Gonzo Journo for the new Age a Guy Like Hunter S Thompson would have thrived on the net.

    Andy Warho was right now woth youtube ect we can all be famous as Bowie Said even be Heros if just for one day.Or iF ONE COULD JUST SAY…..The right thing at the right time like .

    Stop listen turn around everyone listen to whats going down.

  5. colin black says:

    pps

    one .2. three,

    I own this thread after Fred then Crane then the Parrot then the roaches then me!

  6. colin black says:

    B T Y

    Going to read the Post Ive just hijacked now an make a legitimate or illegitimate comment.

  7. colin black says:

    Sinse its press freedom day I have some journo type bloggie inerwebby scribblings to share with you….

    To be honest Ive been trying to fathom events thhat are ocouring to .

    Me an Mine Betterhalf and BestMan sinse our Wedding…

    By the way as I managed tosmuggle a Bible into what was a civil ceromany In our home.I turned it into a Religous Ceromany therfore our Wee Hoose Is now santified ground an Sanctuary.And the way things are unfolding In our lifes Im not sure whom Is going to require Sacnctury.

    Us In Here or anyone On the outside the circle of TRUST…Just weird a stirrings ……

    To those that dont know my Betterhalf and I recently tied the knot after a short 19year Engagement.

    We chose to Marry on Friday the 13th..In the Year of our Lord 2013……..

    As 13 was both our lucky number.

    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1009746/pg1

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