A challenge to US low ranking in press freedom index

The headline on Drudge caught my attention:  USA Plunges To 46th In World Press Freedom Index...

I read a summary and here is what Reporters without borders say about the US:

"In the United States, 9/11 spawned a major conflict between the imperatives of national security and the principles of the constitution's First Amendment.

This amendment enshrines every person's right to inform and be informed.

But the heritage of the 1776 constitution was shaken to its foundations during George W. Bush's two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials.  

There has been little improvement in practice under Barack Obama.

Rather than pursuing journalists, the emphasis has been on going after their sources, but often using the journalist to identify them.

No fewer that eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president, compared with three during Bush's two terms.

While 2012 was in part the year of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 2013 will be remember for the National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden, who exposed the mass surveillance methods developed by the US intelligence agencies.   

The whistleblower is the enemy.

Hence the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea/Bradley Manning for being the big WikiLeaks source, an extremely long sentence but nonetheless small in comparison with the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case.

Amid an all-out hunt for leaks and sources, 2013 will also be the year of the Associated Press scandal, which came to light when the Department of Justice acknowledged that it had seized the news agency's phone records."

To be fair, the report does say that there are countries like Cuba and others with no independent watchdogs or a state run media.   

However, the assessment of the US is very harsh and unfair.  Who are these 45 countries with more freedom of the press than the US?

Jamaica?  Costa Rica?  Romania?  Spain? Botswana?  El Salvador?  Belize?  and a bunch of other European countries? 

Are you kidding me?

The report also treats Mr Manning and Mr Snowden as whistleblowers.  Sorry but they are traitors who violated their oath.  Mr Snowden actually went to Russia, hardly a place for journalists. 

The "Reporters without borders" index makes no sense to me, at least as it applies to its very negative treatment of the US since 9-11.  

It's hard to think of a country with a more "free press" than the US.


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