Ladies & Gents –
The digital age has provided an abundance of new channels for journalists to access and distribute information. Yet the revelation that some journalists have been under surveillance has placed a heavy burden on the freedom of the press. This along with the distressing fact that 34 journalists, four in the last month including ISIS hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff, have been killed this year alone, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), has exposed a current plight of the press.
After Edward Snowden leaked classified NSA documents, alarming reports surfaced indicating that U.S. intelligence agencies had been specifically targeting, among others, news organizations and journalists. In March, Google security engineers discovered that 21 of the world’s top-25 news organizations had been the target of likely state-sponsored hacking attacks. One Google engineer, Shane Huntley, said journalists were “massively over-represented” among the targeted group.
The CPJ, which has done extensive research on surveillance, censorship and attacks on press, has found the threat to journalists to be very real. As the CPJ puts it, “Surveillance and persistent data storage have the potential to disrupt the free flow of information even in nations such as the U.S., which boasts strong protections for the freedom of the press.” Ultimately, the CPJ recognizes that the inability to communicate in confidence online, the lack of accountability against those who violate journalists’ rights, and the threat of capture – or worse death – undermine journalists’ ability to do their jobs free of intimidation or exploitation.
If you agree with the CPJ that it’s important to respect journalists’ right to gather and report the news, then sign the #RightToReport petition and share the link using the hashtag on Facebook or Twitter.