October 17, 2004

Free Press, Free Expression Under Attack

I’m catching up after a few days of computer crash hell. Here are some recent links to the government’s growing attack on freedom of speech and the free press:

 Frank Rich, writing in today’s New York Times: “ ‘The fundamental right of Americans, through our free press, to penetrate and criticize the workings of our government is under attack as never before,’ wrote William Safire last month. When an alumnus of the Nixon White House says our free press is being attacked as ‘never before,’ you listen.”

 Jay Rosen, writing about Sinclair Media: “In a commercial empire it makes no sense to invite a storm like ‘Stolen Honor.’ But imagine a firm built for that sort of storm. Is Sinclair Broadcasting a media company with a political interest, or a political interest that's gotten hold of a media company and intends to use it? There are plenty of signs that a different animal is emerging.” (Thanks, Marc Cooper.)

 Jeff Jarvis, on why bloggers should care about the government jailing Judith Miller: For you, my fellow bloggers, are journalists, too. You uphold the public's right to know and citizens' right to challenge authority. What happens to Miller and other journalists happens to you and me. In fact, without big media companies and their influence, attorneys, and industry pressure behind you, the frightening truth is that you are more vulnerable than Miller.

 Jarvis, again, on government and media: What is the proper relationship of government to media? None.

 First Amendment Center on anonymous sources: “Americans strongly support the right of journalists to use confidential sources in news reporting, according to a new First Amendment Center national survey released today… ” (Good, but the responsibility is on journalists to reduce use of anonymity in order to increase transparency and credibility.)

 Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on the Plame case: “Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper is held in contempt for a second time for refusing to disclose information about confidential sources in the investigation into the government leak of a CIA operative's identity.”

Posted by Tim Porter at October 17, 2004 04:26 PM