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US Plummets On World Press Freedom Ranking 427

Posted by samzenpus
from the 47th-amendment dept.
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Reporters Without Borders released its 2011-2012 global Press Freedom Index. The indicators for press freedom in the U.S. are dramatic, with a downward movement from 27th to 47th in the global ranking, from the previous year. Much of this is correlated directly to the arrest and incarceration of American journalists covering the 'Occupy' protest movements in New York and across the country. 'This is especially troubling as we head into an election year which is sure to spark new conflicts between police and press covering rallies, protests and political events.' Only Chile, who dropped from 33 to 80, joined the U.S. in falling over 100% of their previous ranking. Similarly, Chile was downgraded for 'freedom of information violations committed by the security forces during student protests.'"
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US Plummets On World Press Freedom Ranking

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  • by nbauman (624611) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @08:47PM (#38835285) Homepage Journal

    I hope this indicates that Reporters Without Borders is moving towards some independence and partisan neutrality, unlike their past performance.

    You can either take money from Otto Reich, or you can be an impartial, credible advocate of press freedom. You can't do both.

    Reporters Without Borders has chosen to take money from Otto Reich.

    As this Wikipedia article explains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reporters_Without_Borders#Controversies [wikipedia.org] Reich was engaging in propaganda to support military campaigns against left-wing governments governments in Latin America, and he was on the board of the School of the Americas, which trained people in torture and executions.

    They accused the Aristide government in Haiti of attacks on the opposition press, but they ignored attacks on journalists under the Latortue government.

  • Re:Since when (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @08:56PM (#38835337)

    And if it's inconvenient, you call the editor and get the first paragraph changed.

    http://i51.tinypic.com/296i2iq.jpg

    Next time around, there may be protests up the wazoo, but there may not be any coverage, or it soft power will be deployed to make sure the coverage goes a certain way, as we can see in the example above.

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @09:20PM (#38835491) Homepage

    Boy people still go on with that shit huh? So tell me something. There's this murder trial going on up here in Canada [nationalpost.com], in Ontario, in a city called Kingston. Heard of it? Maybe. It was on CNN today. Did you know that the only media outlet that's printed that they're muslim in the US was fox? Every media outlet, including the CBC in Canada printed that. It's like the majority of the media you guys have, fears printing the truth. Or they're afraid that telling you the truth about people is a bad thing.

    Hey did they tell you that there was a bomb threat there today? Well most of them didn't, they just told you that it was evacuated because of a 'security' concern. But the police briefing to the media stated a bomb threat.

    I can cite example after example, I'd say it's more a specific problem of political correctness trumping freedom of the press, and very few people standing up to it. Hell, you even see that during the WH press briefings, well if you ever watch them unedited.

  • Re:Since when (Score:5, Informative)

    by pnot (96038) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @09:53PM (#38835699)

    A decision to not prosecute does not necessarily mean that a crime was not occurring. It may mean that the evidence is not strong enough to get a conviction worthy of the resources spent on it or that the potential downside of continuing the prosecution (as of a journalist) outweighs the punitive measure against the accused.

    It's a fair point -- but in the Wentz-Graff case, the police never stated to her or anyone else what crime she was suspected of. The police seem to be running with "oops, we didn't know she was a journalist", which seems implausible given the clearly visible press card in the photographs of her arrest.

    Of course, any one case can be put down to incompetence, but this isn't just one case. The SJS editorial linked from the TFA gives other examples, as well as a fairly measured commentary which takes into account the difficulties faced by police.

    I agree with you that the explosion of "citizen journalists" creates a bit of a grey area here, but most of the cases under discussion seem to involve salaried, credentialled, professional journalists and reporters taking pains to advertise their status.

    Maybe it is just incompetence all round, but the effect is the same whether or not this is a planned policy: journalists are discouraged from reporting on protests by fear that they will be arrested.

  • Re:No shit! (Score:2, Informative)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:11PM (#38835763) Journal

    Shall we start with the executive order allowing the assassination of American citizens who might be doing something the government doesn't like? Or the reversal on closing GITMO?, or the expansion of the use of drones by local police departments? SOPA, PIPA, Extension of the Patriot Act, expansion of the warranties wiretapping program? Need I go on?

    Don't forget the take over of several American industries through "stimulus" funds and the takeover of banks through TARP. Never in the history of America has the POTUS fired the CEO of a major corporation until this president came along. And, of course, let's not forget the take over of health care. There is also all the new environmental controls, unless, of course you are a union shop or big time Obama supporter. There is the backing of unions, like the Obama administration forcing Boeing to cease plans for a plant in S. Carolina because S. Carolina is not a union state (that's right! The POTUS told a private industry that they could not open a plant in S. Carolina, a red state, because it was not union friendly enough).

    Through TARP, stimulus finds and health care legislation, environmental restrictions and blind union support, the executive branch has taken control of well over half the US economy. Hell, the Boeing thing should be enough to scare the shit out of any American, but the liberals just cheer louder and louder.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:42PM (#38835935)

    Because it's one of a string of "Honour" killings that have happened in Canada since Muslim immigration took off in the mid 1990s.

    There is nothing wrong with recognizing that certain cultures might not be terribly compatible with western civilization.

  • Re:No shit! (Score:5, Informative)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:58PM (#38836015)

    I don't know if you're just horribly misinformed, or a liar, but nearly every single thing in your post is wrong. It's what's called a Gish Gallop [rationalwiki.org]. You rattle off so many lies that people look and say "Wow, that guy sure knows his stuff" while the honest people can't refute them all fast enough. But I'll try anyway.

    Starting from the quoted section:
    1) He didn't reverse on closing Gitmo. The Republicans blocked all funding for the transfer of prisoners elsewhere. He is literally not allowed to spend a single cent on closing the prison. You cannot blame him for that.
    2) The use of drones by police departments is a nonissue. These drones aren't carrying weapons -- they're no different from helicopters, except that they're cheaper, which is a good thing.
    3) SOPA & PIPA were opposed by Obama. You can't seriously be complaining about his support for something he didn't support. You might as well complain about his support for Al Qaeda.
    4) The stimulus funds did not "take over" any industries. Give one example. Just one. Literally, I want you to name a single American business which is now government owned because of the stimulus. Either that, or come back and apologize for lying.
    5) TARP was passed by Bush, and didn't take over banks in any case.
    6) The health care law does not take over anything. It puts some new regulations on private insurance companies, prevents individuals from abusing the system with an individual mandate, and helps individuals for whom the mandate would be burdensome by providing them with subsidies. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh. The man is lying to you.
    7) New environmental controls? You'll need to be more specific, but I suspect this is every bit as much a lie as the rest of your talking points.
    8) Obama didn't make the decision about Boeing's plant. The National Labor Relations Board did. That's their job... to determine when businesses are retaliating against unions and block such maneuvers. The fact that South Carolina is a "red" state was irrelevant. Boeing was retaliating against their unionized workers in Washington state, and that's against the law.

  • Re:No shit! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:10PM (#38836069)

    Well for starters, we're in a State of Emergency as a country. See, Bush declared said SoE after September 11th. The National Emergencies Act [wikipedia.org] exists to prevent an indefinite state of emergency (to some degree), but that's basically what's been happening. It has to be renewed every year or two and Obama has signed it every time (here's 2009 [whitehouse.gov], just an example). Why? Because being in a State of Emergency also grants the Executive Branch around 500 additional powers that it wouldn't otherwise have.

    So yeah, there' that.

  • Re:No shit! (Score:5, Informative)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:48PM (#38836247)

    Liar, liar, pants on fire :-P

    The Republicans were able to filibuster in the Senate for all but a few months. For the first several months, they made Al Franken jump through hoop after hoop, long past the point that it was obvious to everyone that he had beaten Mr. Coleman. Then, just a month later, Ted Kennedy passed away, his illness having prevented him from voting during that one month window. Paul Kirk was appointed in late September as a temporary senator ahead of the special election. Four months later, Scott Brown took office.

    That was it: a four month window during which the Democrats were focused on getting health care reform passed. For the other twenty months of that two year period, the Republicans had the filibuster, and used it at every opportunity.

  • Re:No shit! (Score:2, Informative)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:28AM (#38836391) Journal

    4) The stimulus funds did not "take over" any industries. Give one example. Just one. Literally, I want you to name a single American business which is now government owned because of the stimulus. Either that, or come back and apologize for lying.

    Stimulus funds came with strings... no, ROPES attached and did amount to a takeover. You want an example [lmgtfy.com]?

    Second, stimulus dollars came with strings attached that are now causing enormous budget headaches. Many environmental grants have matching requirements, so to get a federal dollar, states and cities had to spend a dollar even when they were facing huge deficits. The new construction projects built with federal funds also have federal Davis-Bacon wage requirements that raise state building costs to pay inflated union salaries.

    Worst of all, at the behest of the public employee unions, Congress imposed "maintenance of effort" spending requirements on states. These federal laws prohibit state legislatures from cutting spending on 15 programs, from road building to welfare, if the state took even a dollar of stimulus cash for these purposes.

    Here [crainsnewyork.com] is a story about banks either turning down TARP or leaving the program after the government started changing the rules after the money went out.

    5) TARP was passed by Bush, and didn't take over banks in any case.

    Passed under Bush, about three months before he left office. Completely administered under Obama and extended [go.com] by Geitner. Geitner, btw, is the guy who didn't pay his taxes that Obama made treasury secretary. I guess you are OK with that too. Seriously, would you have been OK if Bush put a drug addict in charge of the DEA and a Klan Grand Wizard in charge of Civil Rights?

    6) The health care law does not take over anything. It puts some new regulations on private insurance companies, prevents individuals from abusing the system with an individual mandate, and helps individuals for whom the mandate would be burdensome by providing them with subsidies. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh. The man is lying to you.

    Whoever pays the bills makes the rules. If you don't believe that, you are lying to yourself. If you think that it took over 2000 pages of "we have to pass it to know what's in it" to do nothing more than, "It puts some new regulations on private insurance companies, prevents individuals from abusing the system with an individual mandate, and helps individuals for whom the mandate would be burdensome by providing them with subsidies.", then you should not leave the house without your helmet.

    7) New environmental controls?

    Do you not watch the news? Look up the Keystone Pipeline. You'll also notice how the rejection of the pipeline helps out Obama supporters, like Warren Buffett [forbes.com]. Obama rejecting the pipeline is also a boon for China, who will get the oil instead of us.

    Of course, there is also the strict limitations on drilling in the Gulf... or off the east or west coast or on land and especially in Alaska. We can't drill in the Gulf of Mexico, but China can for Cuba. Deep water drilling is banned in the Gulf of Mexico, but Obama funded it in Brazil. That oil and those jobs are also going to China, by the way.

    Strange. I just noticed that it seems that China is benefiting much more for Obama's environmental concerns than the actual environment is, which was my point. Obama's regulations do nothing for the environment, harm it if anything. The rejection of the keystone pipeline means that oil w

  • Re:No shit! (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever AT nerdshack DOT com> on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:46AM (#38836455)
    In what universe were the Republicans unable to filibuster the senate?

    If you'll recall, the actual 60 vote majority lasted all of a few months until Ted Kennedy fell ill. And it was only 60 by including the "independent" Lieberman. And involving something like bringing angry kids captured in Afghcanistan (or, to hear Faux News tell it, unstoppable terrorist supermen who would walk right through the walls of supermax prison), you can be sure a few Blue Dog DINOs would defect as well... which was exactly what happened.

    The real news is that the crimes committed at gitmo haven't stopped, they've just started committing them at Bagram air base instead, where there's way less pesky international observers and stuff.
  • Re:No shit! (Score:5, Informative)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:16AM (#38836573)

    So many lies, I feel like I'm shouting into a hurricane....

    1) It's good that the stimulus funds came with strings attached. That's a heck of a lot better than just handing out money with no oversight. If these companies weren't willing to accept the strings, all they had to do was pay back the funds, or not take them in the first place. When you take out a loan, the bank isn't "taking over" your finances.

    2) Since you acknowledge that banks left the TARP program because they didn't like the attached strings, that seems to me to be proof that it was NOT a takeover. Generally you don't let people opt out of being taken over.

    3) You claim that a bill 2000 pages long is incomprehensible. Do you realize how short that is? That's less than half the length of the Harry Potter series. Even less, in terms of words, since if you've ever looked at the raw text of a bill you'd know they have huge margins and triple spacing between lines. If you think no one has read it, you're a fool. You can be sure that the Republicans went through every page with a fine tooth comb. The worst they found was the provision that allowed the sick and elderly to get a free appointment with their doctor to discuss Do Not Resuscitate Orders and the drafting of a will.

    4) The Keystone pipeline was rejected because the Republicans didn't give Obama time to thoroughly review it. They insisted on setting a short timeline, so he rejected it rather than approve it without doing the necessary research.

    5) The fact that China has poor environmental regulations doesn't mean we should follow suit. That's called a race to the bottom. If China made slavery legal, would you suggest we do the same to stay competitive?

    6) I live in Washington state. I closely followed the build up to Boeing's announcement that they were moving the 787 production to SC. It certainly seemed like retaliation, and the NLRB agreed.

    7) Your claim that all five members were appointed by Obama is laughable. You clearly just looked it up on Wikipedia, because otherwise you would know that at the time of the ruling the board had two Obama appointees, one Bush appointee, one Clinton appointee, and one vacancy. Do your homework next time.

  • by rbrander (73222) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:32AM (#38836633) Homepage

    So I went to cnn.com and searched on "canada killing trial" and the top story is titled "Bomb threat delays 'honor' murder trial in Canada", so, yup, the media got the bomb threat story out once it was confirmed.

    In the story:

    "In taking the stand, Shafia swore to tell the truth on the Quran and he again invoked the holy book to say Islam does not condone killing people to preserve a family's honor."

    I admit the word "Muslim" does not appear. Just Islam. And Quran. And all their names and country of origin.

  • Re:No shit! (Score:4, Informative)

    by StevenMaurer (115071) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:49AM (#38836683) Homepage

    For anyone who did a TL;DR on this, the "No Strings attached" link goes to a WSJ opinion piece complaining about doling out dollars only when States are willing to pony up part of it - a practice that's well over 100 years old (and well known to save money because while anyone will take a 100% free gift, less money is spent when people have to pay a part of it). There's some whaaagarble about not being able to continue to pay for benefits after the money has run out, which is an obvious (and stupid) point to make. You don't get something if you don't pay for it. Then, there's bashing over non-transference clauses (so if you say you're going to build a road with Fed dollars, you don't switch around your budget to lower what you were going to pay for the road anyway, and use the savings to put into some lawmaker's slush fund). Again - these types of clauses are literally over a century old, so it's hardly a "string", other than a standard "do what you say you're going to do with the money" type of string.

    I'm not going to even go into the rest. It's pure partisan bullshit. It's Republican farmers who are against the Keystone pipeline, for example. They're terrified about what a leak will do to their water supply. And the President isn't getting a single vote from them.

    But look, ArcherB is going to believe what Archer B wants to believe, no matter what. When someone decides to believe something, there's not a single fact that's going to keep them from doing so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27, 2012 @02:49AM (#38836829)

    We can ignore the fact that the Koran says specifically not to do honour killings, that this was a cultural element predating Islam and that while existing under different names it's a practice not unique to Muslims.

    Also it's wrong to conflate the notions of faith and culture, sure they bleed into one another to a certain extent. That's not quite the same as them being one and the same is it though. As for being compatible with western civilization, why should they be? And if there's a good reason, why should they be the only one to change, why not compromise? We share one world and Islam is a part of it. Short of killing them all or forcing conversion or imprisonment what do you propose? Are you really proposing Genocide? Why stop there, why not exterminate all people that disagree with you or upset your sensibilities?

    Of course those ideas are abhorent, it is however the logical conclusion of your bigoted way of thinking. Sadly an increasing number of people are starting to think like this. With this in mind maybe the news agencies were worried about fueling such hatred. And if you think they should be compelled to report religious belief as a salient fact then do the thought experiment of switching Muslim with Jewish and think about how people would react to consideration of faith being a prime factor in such reporting then.

  • by tapanitarvainen (1155821) on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:13AM (#38836909)

    perhaps some of us should reflect for a moment about the countries ranked higher than we are, and how they got there, considering where they were (in general, not absolutely speaking in terms of this particular metric) not too long ago... Some of these places were the places I I heard about in school when they talked about repression and how "those commies" were trying to take over the world... Phrases like "Papers, please.... Your papers..." were practically ingrained into our social consciousness, asked of poor innocents in every movie with a scene set in one of these places...

    Curiously, Finland remains one of those countries where there's no general legal requirement to carry identification papers or indeed even to have any - and some people actually don't. (There's presidential election going on here right now, and every now and then people come to vote without papers, and there are a number of ways they can, including bringing along someone who can testify they're who they say they are.)

  • by Anzya (464805) on Friday January 27, 2012 @05:47AM (#38837437)

    Curiously, Finland remains one of those countries where there's no general legal requirement to carry identification papers or indeed even to have any - and some people actually don't. (There's presidential election going on here right now, and every now and then people come to vote without papers, and there are a number of ways they can, including bringing along someone who can testify they're who they say they are.)

    Unfortunately you actually do:
    "In 2006 the directive on the right to move freely (2004/38/EC) was implemented, meaning that passportless travel is allowed in the entire European Union, if having a national identity card from an EU country. For some a passport is necessary anyway, since not all countries issue such cards for their citizens, and because Sweden requires a passport when travelling from that country to EU countries outside Schengen."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Agreement [wikipedia.org]

    So we traded away the need for a passport when traveling in exchange for needing an ID in our own countries. Congratulations...
    Now the police in Finland is probably not checking the ID of everyone but the rules are there if they would like to.

  • by HopefulIntern (1759406) on Friday January 27, 2012 @08:13AM (#38838063)
    Mod parent up. I don't know where Americans get this idea that everyone thinks they are the posterchild for civilization. "The American" in my mind as a child was a gun-toting redneck who liked war and killing.
  • by BetterSense (1398915) on Friday January 27, 2012 @10:31AM (#38839045)
    Or James Madison

    "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations"

    "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

    "Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few."

    The Founders lived in a time of royalism and absolutism. Large-scale autocracies were the rule. We like to believe the age of absolute monarchs is over because they've been replaced by throne-less entities like the EU, the IMF, World Bank, and the US Federal war/welfare state. Afraid not.

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