A report released yesterday by Reporters Without Borders for Freedom of Information shows the United States has fallen dramatically in their 2014 World Press Freedom Index by 13 positions down to position 46 out of the 180 countries covered. Among the main reasons for the decline are the Obama administration's seizure of Associated Press reporter's phone records, the trial of Bradley Manning, calling reporters of the Snowden disclosures accomplices to treason and the prosecution of freelance writer Barrett Brown who faces 105 years in prison. It is no wonder Abraham Lincoln was one of Barack Obama's favorite presidents, he had strong desires to put journalists in jail as well.
Although America talks a good game as being freedom of the press, it is Norway, Finland and the Netherlands who rule that motto earning the three top spots in the 2014 World Freedom Index. Countries such as the Czech Republic, Germany, South Africa and Jamaica far outpaced the United States by having more freedom of information available to them.
The organization has also recommended a new federal law to protect journalists' sources with Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire stating, “Spying on journalists’ investigative reporting violates democratic principles.”
No matter how the Obama administration feels about the Snowden disclosures, there has not been one substantiation to the charge that the disclosures have harmed any American, operation or government employee. As with Manning, they did nothing more than expose to the American people how invasive and expansive the federal government spying is on not only suspected terrorists however millions of Americans as well.
Japan took an interesting twist t restrict its country's journalists with the special intelligence protection bill which was signed into law late last year. The new law dramatically restricts freedom of information on nuclear power and relations with the United States. After the bill was signed into law Reporters Without Borders stated, “How can the government respond to growing demands for transparency from a public outraged by the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear accident if it enacts a law that gives it a free hand to classify any information considered too sensitive as a ‘state secret’? By imposing heavy penalties on those who obtain classified information in a ‘grossly inappropriate’ manner and then publish it, parliament is making investigative journalism illegal, and is trampling on the fundamental principles of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources and ‘public interest’.”