Never in a million years did I expect to find myself appealing for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home. Despite the hostile rhetoric of the U.S. presidential campaign, I hoped that after becoming president-elect, Donald Trump would change his approach to the press.
In December 2010, Robin Gordon faced an ultimatum. She had found that a debt collection company had purchased a $291 tax lien on an apartment she owned in Atlanta, Georgia, after her mortgage company failed to pay a small portion of her Fulton County taxes five years earlier. Now, she could either pay the debt collection company $8,200, a 2,700 percent increase, or the sheriff's office would auction her apartment to pay the debt.
On December 13, 2016, I filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI seeking a wide range of documents about a series of highly controversial decisions the bureau made in the weeks leading up to the U.S. presidential election that Democratic lawmakers and supporters of Hillary Clinton have claimed shifted support to her opponent, Donald Trump.
Over the past several months, the Committee to Protect Journalists has raised concerns over U.S. border agents' use of secondary searches of journalists and their devices at U.S. borders, and government proposals to require travelers to hand over social media account passwords as a condition of entry to the U.S. That is why today CPJ joined with 29 organizations to launch the Fly Don't Spy campaign. CPJ supports the rights of journalists to protect confidential information when traveling and is concerned about proposals that could undermine these values.
Authorities decry the proliferation of misinformation and propaganda on the internet, and technology companies are wrestling with various measures to combat fake news. But addressing the problem without infringing on the right to free expression and the free flow of information is extremely thorny.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly's suggestion to a committee hearing that the U.S. could request social media profile and password information as a condition to entering the country. Such requirements would have an impact on journalists by undermining their ability to protect sources and work product, and would represent an escalation of the press freedom challenges journalists face at U.S. borders.
CPJ and a coalition of other organizations request that the Morton County State's Attorney's Office drop the charges against journalists arrested during protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline or justify the arrests of reporters in the course of their work.
New York, February 24, 2017--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the decision today to bar nine news outlets from an informal briefing known as "a gaggle" by President Donald Trump's White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Separately, at the Conservative Party Action Conference in Maryland today, Trump said that journalists should not be allowed to use anonymous sources, and accused the press of producing "fake news," according to reports.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.