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Press Freedom Erodes in U.S., Report Says (rated #53 among168 countries)

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truthpusher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:17 PM
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Press Freedom Erodes in U.S., Report Says (rated #53 among168 countries)

Press Freedom Erodes in U.S., Report Says

By Nora Boustany

Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, October 24, 2006; A15

Some poor countries, such as Mauritania and Haiti, improved their record in a global press freedom index this year, while France, the United States and Japan slipped further down the scale of 168 countries rated, the group Reporters Without Borders said yesterday.


Although it ranked 17th on the first list, published in 2002, the United States now stands at 53, having fallen nine places since last year.

"Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of 'national security' to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his 'war on terrorism,' " the group said.

"The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 U.S. states, refuse to recognize the media's right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism," the group said.

Lucie Morillon, the organization's Washington representative, said the index is based on responses to 50 questions about press freedom asked of journalists, free press organizations, researchers, human rights activists and others.


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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:19 PM
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1. A Free Press?
Yeah, like the corporate powers-that-be want to have a bunch of snoopy reporters hanging around asking difficult questions...

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:22 PM
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2. That "land of the free, home of the brave" shit is ringing hollow these days.
Edited on Mon Oct-23-06 09:23 PM by marmar
My country 'tis of thee, where have you gone? :cry:
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
3. Talk about irony
The Washington Post (Pravda on the Potomac) publishing a story about Freedom of the Press.

The Post gave up its "freedom" and credibility years ago. By choice.
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ProgressiveEconomist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:31 PM
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4. LINK to RWB rankings, questionnaire, and methodology shows
the US now ranks below Hungary, Bolivia, Bosnia, Panama, Bulgaria, South Africa, and Chile!

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Singular73 Donating Member (999 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 11:07 PM
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5. We are the press
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 11:25 PM
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6. We're # 53! We're # 53! We're # 53! We're # 53! We're # 53! We're # 53...
:woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:
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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 12:35 AM
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7. Freedom's on the march
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antiimperialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 12:57 AM
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8. Venezuela rates higher than Mexico and Colombia
Yet Chavez haters say nothing about those countries.
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 01:10 AM
Response to Original message
9. bush: "53 is a pretty big number! heckofa good job, press guys!"
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 06:25 AM
Response to Original message
10. Although I don't doubt the US is slipping, isn't Reporters Sans Frontieres'
funding from some questionable sources?

Wasn't there a story recently about how they get their funding and how it influences their work?
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Stella_Artois Donating Member (838 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Thats interesting
What was said about thier funding ?
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. Surely they DO receive funding from the U.S. State Department.
That means that the situation is undoubtedly FAR WORSE than they admit, since they've been patronized heavily and guided to become a completely political weapon against "enemies" of our right-wing "leaders." Here's a quick grab on the subject:
May 17, 2005

Its Secret Deal with Otto Reich to Wreck Cuba's Economy
Reporters Without Borders Unmasked

When Robert Menard founded Reporters Without Borders twenty years ago, he gave his group a name which evokes another French organization respected worldwide for its humanitarian work and which maintains a strict neutrality in political conflicts Doctors Without Borders. But RSF (French acronym) has been anything but nonpartisan and objective in its approach to Latin America and to Cuba in particular.

From the beginning, RSF has made Cuba its No. 1 target. Allegedly founded to advocate freedom of the press around the world and to help journalists under attack, the organization has called Cuba "the world's biggest prison for journalists." It even gives the country a lower ranking on its press freedom index than countries where journalists routinely have been killed, such as Colombia, Peru and Mexico. RSF has waged campaigns aimed at discouraging Europeans from vacationing in Cuba and the European Union from doing business there its only campaigns worldwide intended to damage a country's economy.

The above is not a matter of chance because it turns out that RSF is on the payroll of the U.S. State Department and has close ties to Helms-Burton-funded Cuban exile groups.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. They also receive funding from the N.E.D.:
Reporters Without Borders received funding from NED
by Salim Lamrani, translated by Dana Lubow
Sunday May 29th, 2005 2:26 PM
After long denying it, Paris-based "Reporters Without Borders" finally admitted they receive payment from the US government's regime-change financing arm, National Endowment for Democracy (NED).



The strong suspicions that have surrounded the dubious and tendentious
activities of Reporters without Borders (RSF) have not been without merit.
For many years, various critics have denounced the largely political
propagandistic actions of the Parisian entity, particularly with regards to
Cuba and Venezuela. The RSF's positions against the governments of Havana
and Caracas coincide perfectly with the political and media war that
Washington carries out against the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionaries.

Finally the truth has come to light. Mr. Robert Mnard, secretary general of
the RSF for twenty years, has confessed to receiving financing from the
National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization that depends on the
U.S. Department of State, whose principal role is to promote the agenda of
the White House for the entire world. Mnard was clear: We indeed receive
money from the NED. And that hasnt posed any problem. (1)


Reporters Without Borders and Washington's Coups

by Diana Barahona and Jeb Sprague; CounterPunch; August 02, 2006

British press baron Lord Northcliff said, "News is something that someone, somewhere wants to keep secret, everything else is advertising." If this is true, then U.S. government funding of Reporters Without Borders must be news, because the organization and its friends in Washington have gone to extraordinary lengths to cover it up. In spite of 14 months of stonewalling by the National Endowment for Democracy over a Freedom of Information Act request and a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED has revealed that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at least three years from the International Republican Institute.
The NED still refuses to provide the requested documents or even reveal the grant amounts, but they are identified by these numbers: IRI 2002-022/7270, IRI 2003-027/7470 and IRI 2004-035/7473. Investigative reporter Jeremy Bigwood asked Morillon on April 25 if her group was getting any money from the I.R.I., and she denied it, but the existence of the grants was confirmed by NED assistant to the president, Patrick Thomas.
(snip/...) ionID=21


The impartiality of Reporters Without Borders is not universally accepted. A significant amount of funding (19% of total) comes from certain western governments and organisations.<2><3><4>However, RWB has openly criticized Western countries for their treatment of reporters (e.g. the United States' occupation of Iraq).

Some people sympathetic with Cuba are highly critical of an apparent RWB anti-Castro bias. Lucie Morillon, RWB's Washington representative, confirmed in an interview on 29 April 2005 that the organization receives money from the Washington-based Center for a Free Cuba ($50,000 in 2004), and that a contract with the US State Department's Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere, Otto Reich, requires them to inform Europeans about repression against journalists in Cuba. However, the organisation has denied that its campaigning on the issue of Cuba - in declarations on radio and television, full-page ads in Parisian dailies, posters, leafletting at airports, and an April 2003 occupation of the Cuban tourism office in Paris - were related to the payments.<5> 1.3% of total funding come from this source.<2> In addition, RWB receives free publicity from Saatchi and Saatchi, a member of the world's fourth-largest marketing and public relations conglomerate, Publicis Groupe. It has been noted that a major Publicis client is Bacardi, which has been at the forefront of financing anti-Castro groups.<6> A judge stopped the organization from using a copyrighted image of Ernesto Che Guevara.<7> RWB has been described as an 'ultrareactionary' organization by the Cuban newspaper Granma.

Some critics find RWB's reporting of press freedom in Haiti during and after Jean-Bertrand Aristide presidency suspect, arguing that it is biased due funding from the United States.<8>

Reporters Without Borders have called on the US government to free two journalists it said were being unjustly held at a US prison in Iraq, and at the US military base in Guantanamo, Cuba.<9> However, some critics find it questionable that this was only mentioned in 2006. They also claim that RSF supported the invasion of Iraq, even celebrating the illegal bombing of the ministry of information, a civilian target, whitewashed the U.S. killing of Telecinco Cameraman Jose couso and Reuters Cameraman Taras Protsyuk, and have remained silent about about AP Journalist Bilal Hussein who has been imprisoned by occupation troops.<10> However, this is contradicted by statements made by the RSF.<11><12>
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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
13. Just scraped into the top third.n/t
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