Double standards in US approach to press freedom – report

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The RT news agency reports that the US Department of State has announced its third annual campaign Free the Press, which is meant to highlight censorship and oppression of journalists around the world. At the same time the Department of State made it clear that it does not consider freedom of the press in the United States in the same way as abroad.

According to the Department of State, the aim of the third annual Free the Press campaign is to draw attention to journalists or media outlets that are censored, attacked, threatened or otherwise harassed because of doing their job.

However, it looks like the US own drastic measures against journalists, particularly those involved in whistleblowing, are a completely separate category, as Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the US Department of State made clear.

Matthew Lee of the Associated Press asked if the US administration regards attempts to prosecute American journalists as an infringement of press freedom. He specified that he was particularly referring to the James Risen case. On Friday, the US Justice Department urged the US Supreme Court to reject New York Times correspondent and Pulitzer-Prize winner James Risen’s petition on reporter’s privilege, which could force him to go to jail for refusing to disclose his source.

Psaki stressed that the leaking of classified information is in a separate category, so the Department of State does not consider harassment for that to be infringement of press freedom.

The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in their 2013 report on the freedom of speech in the US, noted that the Obama administration continuously violates the freedom to share information.

Non-governmental organisations note that reporters’ phone logs and e-mails are secretly subpoenaed and seized by the Justice Department.

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