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Listening Post

US: Silencing news sources?

After the seizure of AP's phone records, we ask if the US is still the land of the free for journalists and sources.

Last Modified: 20 May 2013 16:10
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On May 10, the Associated Press news agency received an email from the US Department of Justice saying that records of more than 20 phone lines assigned to its reporters had been secretly seized as part of an investigation into a government leak.

The government claimed it was a matter of national security, while the AP called it an unprecedented intrusion into its newsgathering operations. But should the journalistic community be so surprised? With the Obama White House’s track record on whistleblowers and WikiLeaks, the move to spy on AP seems consistent with an administration more committed to secrecy than ever before.

Is the United States still the land of the free for journalists and their sources? In this week's News Divide we speak to Laura Malone, legal counsel for the Associated Press; Jeremy Scahill, author of Dirty Wars; The World is a Battlefield; the investigative reporter Dana Priest of the Washington Post; and Ben Wizner from the American Civil Liberties Union.

This week’s Newsbytes: After two years in hiding, a prominent Bahraini blogger reappears in the UK; Globovision, a leading opposition outlet in Venezuela, is sold to businessmen allegedly friendly with the government; and Islamabad is missing one of the most prominent Western journalists based there - the New York Times' Declan Walsh was ordered to leave the country before the election.

One of the lesser-known consequences of the US-led 'war on terror' has been a wave of anti-terrorism legislation in other countries. One of them is Ethiopia. It is not a country known for its freedom of the press and, with ongoing internal conflicts with separatist groups, and the powers that be keeping a wary eye on the nearby Arab Spring, the government in Addis Ababa has been cracking down on the media.

It is doing so with an anti-terror law passed in 2009, which has led to the sentencing of 11 journalists, sent dozens of reporters into exile and has forced countless others to practice self-censorship. The Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead reports on the law that blurs the line between journalism and terrorism.

Unless you have been in orbit or beyond, you have probably already seen our Video of the Week - it's astronaut Chris Hadfield and his version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded while on board the International Space Station. It has been watched online and on TV millions of times over, but it is so good that we wanted to run it anyway.

 
Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

Click here for more Listening Post.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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