New York, January 13, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the decision on Monday by the United States Department of Justice to withdraw its subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen and calls on the Department of Justice to enact guarantees that journalists will not face similar legal action related to confidential sources in the future.
After a summer plagued by war and disease abroad and partisan fighting at home, it was not hard to fathom why President Barack Obama would yearn for a retreat. But from which of the mounting crises did the president hope to escape: Ukraine? Islamic State? Ebola? The Tea Party? None of the above, according to an interview with Obama on the Sunday television news program "Meet the Press," in early September. "What I'd love," he said, "is a vacation from the press."
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.
With journalists around the world being killed, kidnapped, and murdered in record numbers why is the Committee to Protect Journalists launching a campaign targeting U.S. government policies?
New York, June 2, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the United States Department of Justice to withdraw a subpoena seeking to force journalist James Risen to give testimony that would reveal a confidential source. The Supreme Court said today it would not consider Risen's appeal of a lower court ruling that he must testify, meaning the journalist has exhausted his legal avenues to challenge the subpoena, according to news reports.
Nearly seven months ago, CPJ published its first in-depth report on press freedom in the United States, concluding that the Obama administration's aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information, broad surveillance programs, and moves to stem the routine disclosure of information to the press meant that the president had fallen far short of his campaign promise to have the most open government in U.S. history. What's changed since? A quick survey of recent events suggests not much.
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
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.
As pundits debate how Barack Obama will tackle guns, climate change, immigration, and the debt ceiling in his newly inaugurated second term, press freedom advocates are left questioning how the U.S. president will handle another, no-less-controversial issue: the treatment of whistleblowers and officials who leak information to the media.
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.