The Press Is Less Free Today

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Why the Press Is Less Free Today - The New Yorker: "In the worldwide movement away from democracy, perhaps the most vulnerable institution is the free press, and the most disposable people are journalists. If they’re doing their job right, they can have few friends in powerful places. Journalists become reliably useful to governments, corporations, or armed groups only when they betray their calling. They seldom even have a base of support within the general public. In some places, it’s impossible to report the truth without making oneself an object of hatred and a target of violence for one sector of society or another.... the decline of traditional media closed foreign bureaus all over the world, critical reporting has been left to local reporters. Many of them are talented, enterprising, and courageous, and often more able than their Western counterparts to work up sources and get to the heart of the story. But their position is also far more precarious. They have no wealthy foreign news organization or influential foreign government to back them. The only government around, their own, might want them dead. In countries like Mexico, the Philippines, and Pakistan, local journalists are the target of brutal campaigns of intimidation and murder by shadowy secret services or armed groups, from narco-traffickers to Islamists. Finally, there’s the invisible global hand of digital surveillance. The Chinese have perfected its use; the Iranians are getting better all the time. In this country, with the Snowden revelations, there’s a pervasive sense of being monitored, which has pushed many journalists to the routine use of cryptography to protect their sources. And there’s an ambiguous set of signals from the current American government, which promises never to jail journalists for doing their job, but uses the considerable power of the state to plug any leaks it deems harmful. In the age of mass data collection and shifting definitions of journalism, no one knows the rules or how they might be abused and broken." (read more at link above)

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