MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova - The US crackdown on the press freedom is particularly disturbing, as Washington has always been seen as a cradle of democracy and freedom of the media, Chairman of the Inter-American Press Association's (IAPA) Freedom of the Press and Information Committee told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
"The situation is particularly disturbing for a country, historically based on the complete respect for freedom of the press. This people's right [to free speech] is the cornerstone of the American Constitution, more precisely in the famous First Amendment," Claudio Paolillo said commenting on the organization's recent findings that freedom of the press in the United States has deteriorated sharply.
"Well, actually the First Amendment is under attack these days, which is something very sad for the sake of freedom. The security services are spying on millions of American citizens and foreigners based on the argument of 'national security'. Among the people under this massive surveillance are many journalists, who are being harassed by some judges, along with their sources of information," Paolillo told RIA Novosti.
He explained that these developments have been in place following the 9/11 terrorists attacks in 2001.
"Since that moment, the US Governments [George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations] decided to put security first and freedom of the press in second," Paolillo said.
On Tuesday, IAPA issued the Conclusions of its 70th General Assembly following its review of the state of press freedom in the Americas in the last six months. The report states that "freedom of the press and of expression in the hemisphere underwent a marked deterioration in the last six months due to a significant increase in direct and indirect censorship and physical attacks on journalists".
Moreover, it clearly states that the US government of President Barack Obama "is continuing to prohibit officials from talking to the press".
IAPA unites 1,300 newspapers as partners in North, Central and South America. The association denounces "this setback in the United States, specifically regarding freedom of the press," Paolillo concluded.