MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova - The administration of US President Barack Obama is fighting hard against data leaks and is thus pressuring journalists all in the name of national security, president of the Newspaper Guild-CWA Bernard Lunzer told RIA Novosti.
“In the name of national security, the administration has fought hard to go after leakers, and as a result they have pushed on journalists,” Lunzer said, commenting on a recent report that says freedom of the press in the United States has deteriorated sharply.
The Inter-American Press Association’s (IAPA) Freedom of the Press and Information Committee has issued the “Conclusions of its 70th General Assembly” report following its review of the state of press freedom in the Americas over the past 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.”
“One Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, James Risen, is under threat of being sent to jail for contempt of court because he has refused to divulge his source in a matter going back to 2006 and the Bush administration. He has lost all of his appeals,” Bernard Lunzer told RIA Novosti.
Moreover, the report clearly states that the Obama administration “is continuing to prohibit officials from talking to the press.”
“We have had multiple situations where journalists have been harassed or even arrested for covering riots and other situations,” Lunzer said. “There continues to be an issue with law enforcement trying to limit what our journalists are doing. The Newspaper Guild-CWA, of which I am the president, is attempting to start dialogues with police departments in some cities.”
Lunzer also said that the Newspaper Guild-CWA is continuing to advocate for a shield law that protects journalists and their sources.
“None exist on a national level in the US. So far we have been unsuccessful despite the fact that over 40 journalism organizations have been lobbying for this,” he stressed.
The guild represents 26,000 members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. In 1997, it merged with the Communications Workers of America, which represents 700,000 workers in various fields that include telecom, health care, higher education, state and local government, airlines, manufacturing and media.