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Media Censorship United States News

US To Host World Press Freedom Day 614

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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  • Irony (Score:3, Informative)

    by arcite ( 661011 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:53PM (#34490616)
    This is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:57PM (#34490698)

    Actually, your hero Jon has been bashing Assange and wikileaks for disturbing the powers-that-be, because they have a "D" next to their name.

  • Re:wikileaks (Score:4, Informative)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:22PM (#34491160) Homepage

    With the posting of 400,000 classified documents from the Iraq war, WikiLeaks has shown a much heavier hand redacting compared to its previous publication of documents.
    "In this case we have taken an even more vigorous approach than we took in relation of the Afghan material, not because we believe that approach was particularly lacking [but] rather just to prevent those sort of distractions from the serious content by people who would like to try and distract from the message," Assange said.

    An initial comparison of a few documents redacted by WikiLeaks to the same documents released by the Department of Defense shows that WikiLeaks removed more information from the documents than the Pentagon. []

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:35PM (#34491394)

    Oh, it's no problem to speak. As long as nobody listens. Once you manage to make too many people listen and you say things the powers that are don't like, well, take a look at wikileaks to see what happens.

    "Dumb" governments restrict the freedom of speech, disallowing you to say what you want. This isn't necessary. Not by a longshot. Say what you want. In 99% of the cases, you won't say anything the governing body would like to keep covered. Why? Because you don't know it. Duh. If you know it, you will probably not have the broadcasting power to cause a problem. If you do have the broadcasting power (i.e. if you're part of "the media"), you are usually concerned with making money more than with spreading information the government does not want to be spread. Now, who do you think gets all that cool smart bomb footage and gets invited to those interesting and by your viewers so well received public speeches and press statements from politicians? Those that report what the government likes or those who report what they don't?

    Think about it for a moment, then continue.

    So you have sensitive information and you don't have an "automatic" audience because they listen to you anyway? Who cares? Broadcast it. You'll get turned off on some technicality and the info vanishes into nothingness before it can reach critical mass. If that fails, a three steps plan follows:

    1. Remove your reputation
    2. Remove your assets
    3. Remove your freedom

    If the data is out and can't be contained, discredit the source. Call it fabrication, call it a disgruntled ex-employee, make the one spreading the information appear like a lunatic or someone who wants to hurt Uncle Sam (or whoever is the target), under no circumstances even talk about the information leaked, just assassinate the character of the person spreading the information. Nobody will talk about it anymore, everyone will dismiss it as fabricated because the one spreading the information had some ulterior motivation to spread it, he's not interested in the "truth", he's interested in hurting $target.

    If this fails because for some odd reason the source is credible (first reason why Wikileaks should have been attacked way earlier, at least from the government's POV, is that now they actually do have some rather solid reputation for being credible. Don't worry, the US gov won't make that mistake again and let someone gain that much cred unsupervised), cut their money. Spreading information costs money. Defending against litigation costs money. Denying them this money means they cannot continue to spread the information and cannot defend against litigation, thus they have to cave in. So cut their access to money and carpet bomb them with law suits. Whether they hold up in court doesn't really matter, what matters is that they are kept busy and that they have to raise and spend money, which they now cannot.

    If this cannot curb the leaking, arrest them. Find some technicality, fire up the counter propaganda and paint them as the villain of the century, put them in the vicinity of other criminals and lock them up. If they are part of an organization, do what you can to outlaw that organization or, preferably, outlaw any organization dealing in the same area. This takes care of information spreaders that do not work alone but in a group. Usually the group should dissolve now. If not, rinse and repeat.

    You see, you do not have to limit the freedom of speech. You only have to take care that nobody can hear anything and listen when someone should say anything that actually counts.

  • Re:Actually (Score:5, Informative)

    by dotwhynot ( 938895 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:48PM (#34491608)

    Actually when it comes to press freedom, the US still looks better than most countries. In fact, even after 230 years of the US example, I don't know of any other governments whose core founding and/or legal principles include the explicit recognition of the citizenry's inalienable right to freedom of speech, it seems to genuinely be something exceptional. Oh sure, many governments have begrudgingly given a nod to what they see as "granting" of similar rights (and in fact even that much is due to the positive influence of the US historically) - but saying "OK, we grant you freedom of speech" is actually fundamentally vastly different to inalienable rights, which are not considered granted, but exist independent of government and cannot morally be taken away. Sure, in practice lawmakers pee on the constitution with abandon, as lawmakers will do, but I'll take the US any day. Trying to block citizens' practice of liberties such as free speech is something all governments do anyway, but only one government in the world at least formally recognizes this as wrong (and gives the citizens other rights, such as the 2nd amendment, in order to enforce the 1st amendment).

    I'm definitely not saying it's perfect, or that we shouldn't strive for better. On the contrary, we should continually strive for better. We have to.

    Press Freedom Index 2010 []: US at #20. With the Nordic countries, Netherlands and Switzerland at the top.

  • 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 []. 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?

  • by coinreturn ( 617535 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:55PM (#34491712)
    If you were paying attention, the women DID NOT want to press charges. It was an overzealous prosecutor who forced the issue. Later, a lawyer ($$$$$$$$) convinced the women to press charges. Certainly, it is possible that he is a rapist, but it is surely suspicious considering how mad the USA is at him and their leverage around the world.
  • by spurioustruth ( 970045 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:03PM (#34491842)
    Actually the New York Times did get a hold of some documents back during the Vietnam War. It ended up in the US Supreme Court (look up "Pentagon Papers").
    Secrecy is necessary. There is no question of that. But then KEEP IT SECRET! After 9/11 when the government got slapped for not sharing intel, they responded by letting everybody and their uncle read this stuff. That's not the way to keep secrets.
    Trying to wrap your head around what intel needs to be kept and who really needs to be able to see it is a huge task. One that has not been handled well.
    For some other disucssions around this topic check out the Secrecy Blog ( [] ).
  • by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:07PM (#34491896)

    A diplomatic case or bag is different than what Manning got ahold of.

    Really, a diplomatic case carrying documents containing communications between ambassadors and their bosses not meant to be read by others is different than secure diplomatic cables of documents containing communication between ambassadors and their bosses not being meant to be read by others? How do you think this stuff was transferred before faster secure communications became available?

    If the United States was really trying to keep this crap secret, why were hundreds of thousands of files accessible to a Private First Class assigned to an infantry division stationed in Iraq?

    This argument is entirely off topic from the issue at hand which is whether all diplomatic communications SHOULD be transparent or not. It's like saying if you think getting robbed is wrong why did you trust the cleaning service that went through an extensive background check and swore an oath? Besides which, no one knows for sure if the diplomatic cable leak was related to Manning anyways.

    Look at 1990, right before Iraq attacked Kuwait, Saddam hinted very heavily to the US Ambassador that they were going to attack and they might even keep going into Saudi Arabia and Saddam took an American lack of reaction as a tact "OK". Had that interaction been in the open and a public US government reaction been made, well then hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved and hundreds of billions of dollars would have not been wastes.

    If true, this was a mistake by the ambassador not to pick up on it and react accordingly. In the world you imagine though, Saddam would know that regardless of our reaction any hint of war plans would be given to the public at large and therefore Kuwait and Saudi Arabia who would prepare defenses or possibly strike first. In such a case he'd be less likely to even mention it to our ambassador and we would have lost the chance to avert the war at all.

  • Re:Actually (Score:4, Informative)

    by Somewhat Delirious ( 938752 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:17PM (#34491992)

    "Press Freedom Index 2010 []: US at #20. With the Nordic countries, Netherlands and Switzerland at the top."

    And remember, this was before the US response to the Wikileaks release. Guess they'll be dropping a few places...

  • by sammyF70 ( 1154563 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:22PM (#34492078) Homepage Journal

    actually, he seems to be right if you believe Bild Zeitung [] (which is at the best of times slightly hazardous, as it's not exactly the most serious newspaper in Germany)

    From the article, one of the women didn't want to press charges, and the second only went to the police because Assange was being a asshole (he didn't want to be tested for STDs after having have unprotected sex with both women) but both were apparently pressurized by their lawyer, Claes Borgström, into pressing charges for rape. Still from the Article, Borgström seems to be a complete dickhead, part-time media whore, part time feminist extremist (I don't have anything about emancipation, I actually support it wherever I can, but the dude tried apparently to push a "default culpability for men" law ... -.- )

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:03PM (#34492730)

    In most places, including the States, if a person gives consent and then withdraws it, there is no longer consent. As far as I know there is no "blue balls" clause letting you finish even if she says no halfway through.

    Lots of states in fact. Like North Carolina [] and Maryland. [] I'm not saying that such laws are morally right, but I do personally think that the level of protest required during coitus needs to be significantly higher than, "no means no" because the participants can't be expected to be fully in control of their faculties. Everything I've read about the two incidents indicates that neither women claim to have made any physical attempt to stop the act. Plus Assange is completely deaf in one ear and ~50% deaf in the other.

    I'm far more interested in the charges leveled by John Young of Cryptome, that he is a mercenary selling access to unredacted source documents to the highest bidder on the black market.

    Interesting but it sounds like an exaggeration, apparently this is what Young said []:
    "Well, it only came up in the topic of raising $5 million the first year.
    That was the first red flag that I heard about. I thought that they were
    actually a public interest group up until then, but as soon as I heard that,
    I know that they were a criminal organisation."

    To me, that sounds like wikileaks people were brainstorming at its inception and Young has extrapolated the worst possible result from it. Remember at the start wikileaks wasn't redacting anything - they even published their own list of donors. So the implication that they would publicly release redacted documents but privately sell them doesn't fit the circumstances.

  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:26PM (#34493094) Journal

    Actually, he calls himself a "rodeo clown". I assume because he tries to be funny and entertaining while doing something he considers dead serious and quite boring. Much like a rodeo clown's job is to entertain while being responsible for the safety of riders.

    And... he has done what he called a "comedy tour". From Huffpo: []

    NEW YORK — Glenn Beck, Fox News Channel's latest sensation, is taking a comedy show on the road for six live performances over six days during the first week of June.

    Beck calls his act a "poor man's Seinfeld" and intends to mix topical humor with his modern-day reimagining of Thomas Paine's 1776 pamphlet "Common Sense."

    So, yeah, I guess he is also a comedian.

    Also, Beck is not on the "crazy part of the right." I'd peg him as more on the "sane part of the Libertarians" (which does not negate your "crazy", BTW). I'd put him as far to the right as I'd put Penn Jillette to the left. Other than religious views, the two pretty much agree on everything. Beck's attitude toward political parties is the same as South Park's co-creator Matt Stone, "I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate liberals."

    Of course, YMMV as where people rate right-left depends on where they stand on the political spectrum. Everyone thinks they are middle of the road. Everyone more conservative than themselves is viewed as being "right-wing" and inverse for everyone on the left of them.

    I know it's off topic. Just trying to educate. I'm certain you don't spend a whole lot time watching Beck on TV or listening to him on the radio. Granted, I don't much either, but I did spend a few years listening to his radio show when it was on while I sat in traffic.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @07:29PM (#34494932)

    What tweets?

    These tweets for example:,01.shtml []

    'Julian wants to go to a crayfish party, anyone have a couple of available seats tonight or tomorrow? #fb'

    'Sitting outdoors at 02:00 and hardly freezing with the world's coolest smartest people, it's amazing! #fb'

    These were made the days immediately after she was "raped".
    Is that how you act after a rape? Call it hanging out with the coolest people in the world?

    To make matters even worse, she tried to remove them after the fact...

    It's amazing what people take for proof and sources to base their snap judge and jury judgement on in this case.

    Yes, that is scary. I agree with you there.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"