US Press Freedom Tracker

3 results arranged by date

The Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. The aggressive pursuit of people suspected of leaking information to the press is having an impact on reporting, national security journalists say. (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

Leak prosecutions under Trump chill national security beat

When President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, was asked at his confirmation hearing in January whether he would ever consider jailing a journalist, Barr paused for about eight seconds, then said he could “conceive of a situation” where a journalist is jailed as a “last resort.” Such equivocation was troubling to press…

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Police arrest St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Mike Faulk in September 2017. Faulk is one of at least 10 journalists detained in the city late last year when police used the tactic of kettling during protests. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Journalists covering protests in US risk getting caught up in police kettling tactic

On September 17 last year, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Mike Faulk was covering protests over the acquittal of a former police officer in the killing in 2011 of man named Anthony Lamar Smith. At about 11 p.m., officers formed a line across Washington Avenue near Tucker Boulevard in downtown St. Louis, and officers in full…

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US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, pictured at a meeting in January 2018, has indicated he intends to pursue leak investigations. (AFP/Saul Loeb)

The president’s phantom threats

During his tumultuous campaign, Donald Trump declared war on the press, pledging to “open up our libel laws” and impose fines on critical journalists if elected. Within a month of taking office, he vowed to go after leakers, comparing them to Nazis, and urged then-FBI director James Comey to jail reporters who published classified information.…

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