Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Press freedom isn't enough. Joe Lieberman needs to stop talking.

From the latest Glenn Greenwald posting, comes this important quote from the newspaper business in Australia: 

It is the media’s duty to responsibly report such [classified] material if it comes into their possession. To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks, and to pressure companies to cease doing commercial business with WikiLeaks, is a serious threat to democracy, which relies on a free and fearless press. 

 I was struck by the phrase "free and fearless." The "free" part is obvious. Democracies need a free press. Any schoolchild knows that. (At least I don't think the bastards have prohibited teaching about press freedom. It does have a well-known liberal bias.) However, the "fearless" part is critical. In the U.S., our Constitution enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment. Unfortunately, our politicians can threaten to do whatever the fuck they want on the evening news, including threatening journalists, and the evening newsman won't challenge said politicians because said newsman doesn't consider himself a journalist. So U.S. journalism, and now international journalism, is living under fear. And if not fear, then at least they feel hassled. This is bad. The press needs to be fearless and unhampered. They need to know that anything short of placing the U.S. under imminent danger (the standard adopted in the Pentagon Papers case) is fair game for publishing.

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