Barton Gellman

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Blog   |   USA

Eight days in Hong Kong: Laura Poitras on documenting Snowden for 'Citizenfour'

Laura Poitras's highly anticipated documentary Citizenfour was shown last week in New York. (AP/Charles Sykes/Invision)

The world premiere of Laura Poitras's highly anticipated documentary "CITIZENFOUR" at the New York Film Festival occurred with the appropriate amount of intrigue for a film about last year's dramatic revelations of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. The press and premiere screenings were clocked to begin simultaneously on Friday so no breaking news could be leaked. The movie was a last-minute addition to the festival and the first complete screening even for film industry professionals, who had previously seen it only with crucial redactions. In a surreal touch, a 9-foot tall statue of the film's protagonist, Edward Snowden, mysteriously appeared in a park in New York earlier that day at the very moment--and apparently coincidentally--in which another principal character, journalist Glenn Greenwald, was there having breakfast.

Letters   |   USA

CPJ urges US to mitigate threats to journalism, newsgathering

Dear President Obama: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide, is writing to express its concern about the effects of intelligence and law enforcement activities undertaken by agencies, over which your administration has oversight, on the free flow of news and other information in the public interest.

Reports   |   USA

The Obama Administration and the Press

Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America

U.S. President Barack Obama came into office pledging open government, but he has fallen short of his promise. Journalists and transparency advocates say the White House curbs routine disclosure of information and deploys its own media to evade scrutiny by the press. Aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance programs deter government sources from speaking to journalists. A CPJ special report by Leonard Downie Jr. with reporting by Sara Rafsky

Barack Obama leaves a press conference in the East Room of the White House August 9. (AFP/Saul Loeb)

Reports   |   USA

CPJ's recommendations to the Obama administration

CPJ is disturbed by the pattern of actions by the Obama administration that have chilled the flow of information on issues of great public interest, including matters of national security. The administration's war on leaks to the press through the use of secret subpoenas against news organizations, its assertion through prosecution that leaking classified documents to the press is espionage or aiding the enemy, and its increased limitations on access to information that is in the public interest -- all thwart a free and open discussion necessary to a democracy.

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