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Media Censorship United States News

US To Host World Press Freedom Day 614

Posted by samzenpus
from the enjoy-the-freedom dept.
rekrowyalp writes "From the press release: 'The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day event in 2011. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals' right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.' Oh the irony."
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US To Host World Press Freedom Day

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  • wikileaks (Score:5, Funny)

    by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:45PM (#34490466) Homepage Journal

    Is it safe to assume that Wikileaks isn't invited?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oh no, they're invited. All of them. In fact, it's an invitation they can't refuse...

    • Irony (Score:3, Informative)

      by arcite (661011)
      This is.
    • by Esteanil (710082)
      On a side note, I'd suggest we start organizing "Wikileaks fundraiser parties". Seeing as (nearly) all other ways of funding them has been blocked by the oh-so-press-friendly US govt. & friends, we'll simply need to collect the money the old-fashioned way and have organizers do the actual fund transfers. (Using Western Union or similar, I guess). Oh, and 'till these things get up and running, I just signed up for Flattr [flattr.com]. Limited to $2 a month, but hey, every little helps.
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Well, I for one think that there is a qualitative difference between arresting anyone saying "democracy is awesome" a la China (and boycotting the Nobel Peace Prize / threatening nations who send delegating), and arresting / wanting to arrest people for actually taking classified documents from your government offices and reproducing them online. One is about suppressing opinions the government doesn't like, and the other is about government transparency. I can appreciate the case for transparency, mind you
      • Re:wikileaks (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tdelaney (458893) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:52PM (#34491670)

        Exactly when did Julian Assange or anyone from WikiLeaks "... tak[e] classified documents from your government offices and reproduc[e] them online"?

        They published documents they were given by someone else (the actual leaker, who is suspected to be Manning) - much like every news organisation has done with the cables as they've been released. Except the news organisations have been picking and choosing for greatest dramatic effect/"reader interest" i.e. publishing the cables that are most likely to have a destablising effect on world politics.

      • Re:wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['aho' in gap]> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:53PM (#34491682) Journal

        So arrest the people who took the documents. We have a law in this country specifically protecting the right to publish documents even if they were obtained illegally. Remember the Pentagon Papers? If it was legal to publish those, it is legal for Assange to publish the documents he received.

        Uh, maybe I'm jumping to conclusions here. You do realize that Assange did not take any documents from government offices, right?

    • Re:wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:26PM (#34491242) Journal

      If the US oligarchy were really interested in democracy, US news companies wouldn't have betrayed US citizens during GW Bush's presidency and would have instead shown the courage of Wikileaks.

      Another generation of US journalists had more courage:
      http://www.ellsberg.net/archive/public-accuracy-press-release [ellsberg.net]

      In any case, the US's covert war against Wikileaks is its only alternative:
      http://www.rferl.org/content/wikileaks_assange_secrecy_access_laws/2242761.html [rferl.org]

  • Doublethink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnCivil Liberty (786163) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:45PM (#34490472)

    "Winston sank his arms to his sides and slowly refilled his lungs with air. His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them" - 1984

    • by arcite (661011)
      Doublethink? More like a doubletake!
  • HA HA HA (Score:2, Insightful)

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    Oh, that's funny. Let's see how much celebration of WikiLeaks there is.

    ("Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING." Well, sometimes it fits.)

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:48PM (#34490516)

    I SO have to watch the next Daily Show. Just to see if they have the balls to use this.

    • by should_be_linear (779431) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:27PM (#34491256)
      Sad to disappoint you, but DailyShow epically FAILED (as in shown ugly "patriot" face) when it comes to WikiLeaks.
    • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:31PM (#34491312) Homepage Journal

      Well, I know what he won't say about it:

      Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, or tits.

      Thank you for protecting us from those horrible words, FCC! Despite the fact that as a cable channel, the decency regulations don't actually apply, so the only reason Comedy Central censors themselves is, well, momentum, I guess. Since they'll occasionally run stuff uncensored late at night.

      Yay freedom of the press! The freedom to censor itself, I guess.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Funny but that fact that you wonder if someone will use this show just how odd the crabbing is.
      This is the freedom of speech version of first world angst.
      If Assage was in a nation without freedom of the press like Iran, North Korea, China, Russia.... He wouldn't have been arrested at all.
      He would just be dead.

  • Irony (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Voulnet (1630793)
    Irony is: Hosting a World Press Freedom Day while censoring WikiLeaks and censoring websites from the entire world.
    • Re:Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BeanThere (28381) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:22PM (#34491168)

      Actually, apart from doing things like pressuring private companies like Amazon and PayPal to "voluntarily" kick Wikileaks off their systems, and making public statements musing that Mr Assange should be assassinated (all reprehensible, to be sure), has the US government actually done anything concrete to censor Wikileaks? Have they arrested or imprisoned anyone who downloaded the torrent? Have they issued ISPs with warrants to find out why downloaded the torrent? Have they forced any media organizations publishing information on the leaks into silence, or arrested or prosecuted any media organization that has published anything about the leaks? Have they made any format attempts to extradite Mr Assange? Has the US government done anything to forcibly silence discussion among the public on the leaks -- for example, shutting down blogs, or arresting blog owners? Have they forced media organizations to toe the official state position only? I'm curious, apart from vague allusions to "censoring websites from the entire world", what are you referring to exactly?

      The types of activities I've mentioned, are the types of things that DO actually go on in the many countries outside the US that do practice censorship and control of speech, and I must say, I don't really see the US doing those things. Or perhaps you want to suggest that they are doing those things but that we don't know about them because the US has silenced anyone who talks about it. But I'm afraid I don't even see the climate of fear around discussion that that type of control usually generates in such countries that suppress freedom of speech; as far as I can tell, Americans seem to enjoy the liberty of being able to do and say whatever they want about their government very, very openly.

      • by Voulnet (1630793)
        It happens eventually, step by step. What I'm talking about in terms of WikiLeaks censorship is the US gov't preventing US Army as well as US gov't employees from accessing WikiLeaks.

        As for censoring websites from the entire world, I meant by it seizing websites that reside in the .com domain and preventing access to it not just for US citizens, but also for everyone around the world who may want to access that domain name. A country blocking a .com domain (Note that I'm not talking about seizing the act
        • by BeanThere (28381)

          It happens eventually, step by step. What I'm talking about in terms of WikiLeaks censorship is the US gov't preventing US Army as well as US gov't employees from accessing WikiLeaks.

          As far as I know, they just "asked" them not to. Voluntarily. Have they prosecuted or arrested anyone for doing so?

          As for censoring websites from the entire world, I meant by it seizing websites that reside in the .com domain and preventing access to it not just for US citizens

          Which .com domain have they seized and blocked access to? Sorry if I've missed something here.

          The ongoing trend does not bode well for the freedom of the internet, and the US gov't, unfortunately, has been showing us worrying signs of intentions to control the cyberspace.

          Yes, governments can, have always, and always will try to control anything and everything and suppress citizen rights. What I am saying is that in the case of Wikileaks, I don't think they have succeeded yet, whereas the statement "censoring websites from the entire world" suggests they have.

          The problem with saying "We are still able to do this and this" is that soon you may not be able to, and as a non US-citizen, I care about this because it will affect the entire internet, not just, say, US newspapers.

          That I agr

          • Re:Irony (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Voulnet (1630793) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:22PM (#34492074)

            As far as I know, they just "asked" them not to. Voluntarily. Have they prosecuted or arrested anyone for doing so?

            Whether or not somebody has been prosecuted for it is as far as I know unknown as of yet, but a google search will show you many of the news about the military censor of WikiLeaks, amongst which is this [huffingtonpost.com].
            A memo from the US Marines says this:USMC Personnel (Marines/Civilians/Contractors) are hereby cautioned and directed to NOT access the WIKILEAKS website from a personally owned, publically owned or US Government computer system. By willingly accessing the WIKILEAKS website for the purpose of viewing the posted classified material - these actions constitute the unauthorized processing, disclosure, viewing, and downloading of classified information onto an UNAUTHORIZED computer system not approved to store classified information. Meaning they have WILLINGLY committed a SECURITY VIOLATION.
            Obviously committing a security violation as an employee of the US Marines is, well, not a laughing matter.

            Which .com domain have they seized and blocked access to? Sorry if I've missed something here.

            You might find more info here [slashdot.org].

            Yes, governments can, have always, and always will try to control anything and everything and suppress citizen rights. What I am saying is that in the case of Wikileaks, I don't think they have succeeded yet, whereas the statement "censoring websites from the entire world" suggests they have.

            In fact I have, as a non-US citizen living outside of the US, have seen one of the results of this censor when trying to access one of the censored sites, getting a warning page with a FBI DVD-like warning. The problem with censoring the domain name itself is that the website can be hosted outside of the US, and yet they'd have power to censor it.

  • Just a plot (Score:2, Funny)

    by Brummund (447393)

    It is just a plot to get Assange to the US, probably. "Yeah, we got a nice room booked for you. All meals covered!"

  • A "terrorist" attack on the event. All free press destroyed at once. Sadly.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:52PM (#34490604)

    Freedom is what we let you have until you piss us off. Then we'll trump up some charges and call you a rapist.

  • No hypocrisy here, move on citizen.
  • ... this way the frontier police will have a good time patting down all these pinko communists flying to the US from all over the world.
    It'll be like a lottery draw and the winner gets "invited for questioning" by Agent Smith wearing a blood stained butcher apron...

    I don't feel like adding a smiley here...

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:55PM (#34490666)

    but I don't think they're aware of that.

    • They are aware that comedians are the last one telling the truth to the US public, and plan to bankrupt them all by a thread of elaborated government decisions that will take their public's atention away!!!!!

      P.S. Gee, all that text and I couldn't get ride of that last comma... When reading it, don't take a breath, that would not reflect the intented message.

  • I heard so, but my ISP wouldn't let me access the website...
  • WPFD on Facebook (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:59PM (#34490730)

    World Press Freedom Day "moved" (deleted and reposted) the original posting on Facebook and with it deleted all of the comments on it claiming: "We have temporarily stopped wall posts simply because the traffic we've received far exceeded what are able to see and respond to right now! We simply had the structure wrong and weren't ready for a wall with that much traffic, and once we have the logistics worked out, we look forward to continuing a robust discussion around press freedom ahead of World Press Freedom Day 2011!"

    The logistics being a situation where they moderate (read: delete) posts,
    regulating speech != free speech, disappointing behavior for an organization who celebrates (and very existence relies on) free speech

    Let them have it here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/WPFD2011?v=app_2373072738 [facebook.com]
    or join "World Press Freedom Day, what a joke" here: http://www.connect.connect.facebook.com/WPFD2011#!/pages/World-Press-Freedom-Day-2011-What-a-Joke/164635873577540?v=wall [facebook.com]
    or "Protest World Press Freedom Day-3 May" here: http://www.connect.connect.facebook.com/WPFD2011#!/pages/Protest-World-Press-Freedom-Day-3-May/128796330513944?v=wall [facebook.com]

    • World Press Freedom Day: Only possible if we have the resources to delete the free expression of people's opinion about it.

      Ya know, if this wasn't so serious I would lie on the floor, panting and wheezing 'cause I couldn't stop laughing. Is it me or does this sound like something that fell out of Bizarro-World?

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:07PM (#34490902)

    I'd be happy if the local media here in California would ask a follow up question once in a while.

    All I want is this:

    STATE POLITICIAN: This bill will fix global warming, solve hunger and make tasty donuts fall from the skies like kisses from kittens!
    REPORTER: How, exactly?
    STATE POLITICIAN: Thanks and good nigh- eh, what?
    REPORTER: How does the bill do that? What sequence of events did you and the other legislators envision after the bill is enacted?
    STATE POLITICIAN: (deer in headlights gaze) Uh, well, blah blah blah bullcrap blah symbolism blah feelgood blah TheChildren blah, er, 9/11.
    REPORTER: Isn't that a pile of bullshit?
    STATE POLITICIAN: Hey, what happened to impartiality?
    REPORTER: It wasn't working out very well.

    What I want is Spider Jerusalem going after some of these scumbags. Wikileaks is all well and good, but I want these people confronted in their speeches by someone other than media insiders who just sit their dumbly nodding their heads at any crap a politician says. Fuck, every reporter is just a softball Larry King type these days.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_Jerusalem [wikipedia.org]

    • Most reporters don't deserve that name anymore. They're cue-card holders for politicians, mostly. But essentially, we're to blame.

      As long as we listen to cue-card reporters, they will be the ones who get the interviews. Why? Because politicians prefer to be interviewed by cue-cards than by investigative reporters. Duh. And in turn, reporters will be what they have to be to get interview partners. If you're known as a badass inquisitor that kills kittens with his follow-up questions, no politician will come

  • by Quantus347 (1220456) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:21PM (#34491140)
    Vatican City will be hosting the Annual Gay Pride Extravaganza, and Steve Jobs will be hosting the Open Source The Future Gala.
  • by hansg (264039) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nossrannug.snah]> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:30PM (#34491308)

    Someone should nominate Assange to UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2011 [unesco.org]

    Imagine if he would have to get parol from a US prison to attend?


    • Make it happen! (Score:5, Informative)

      by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:48PM (#34491610)

      The purpose of the Prize, supported by the Guillermo Cano Foundation, the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation and JP/Politiken Newspapers LTD, is to honour a person, organization or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if this involved risk.

      Well, we know who most fits that description by far.
      We'll need Assange's full/proper name, date/place of birth, nationality, address, and suitable brief biography (yes, most of that is known, but for formalities let's make sure proper, not popular, information is used) to fill in this form [unesco.org]. I suggest lots of people submit the form [mailto], with "Candidate presented by" filled as "populous at large"; should not a large number of individuals all acting as interested-for-the-same-reason parties have their unanimous selection recognized as much as any formal organization, given the nature of the prize?

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