Great news: US now 46th in Reporters Without Borders ranking of press freedom
posted at 11:38 am on February 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Oddly, though, their two primary examples of the erosion of press freedom are … not journalists. Olivier Knox (freely) reports on the findings:
The U.S. plummeted 13 slots to 46th overall “amid increased efforts to track down whistle-blowers and the sources of leaks,” Reporters Without Borders warned in an annual report.
“The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest,” the organization said.
The group, known by its French initials, RSF, also cited the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press telephone records and a court’s pressure on New York Times reporter James Risen to testify against a CIA staffer accused of leaking classified information.
“The whistle-blower is clearly the enemy in the U.S.,” Delphine Halgand, who heads the RSF outpost in Washington, told Yahoo News. “Eight whistle-blowers have been charged under the Obama administration, the highest number of any administration, of all other administrations combined.”
Well, I agree wholly with the point about the AP’s phone records, but RSF missed the point on Risen by a mile. Prosecutors and courts have pressured reporters for decades to cough up sources, but this administration is the first we’ve seen that argued for a snoop warrant based on the argument that a reporter might be part of an espionage ring. Manning and Snowden aren’t reporters, and they broke the law in an indiscriminate manner regarding classified material, especially Manning, to whom the term “whistleblower” hardly applies. Even his own defense relied on psychological issues rather than a central claim of whistleblower protection.
Note that RSF uses Manning’s birth name from his previous male identity. How long before outrage erupts over the insult to Chelsea?