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CPJ Report: Obama Administration Has Had 'Chilling Effect' On Journalism

For the first time in its 32 year history, the Committee to Protect Journalists, whose mission is defending journalists worldwide, has released a comprehensive examination of press freedoms in the United States.

The report says that President Obama is not making good on his promise to have a transparent government and the aggressive pursuit of leakers of classified information is having a chilling effect on journalists.

“Most journalists are not concerned about what might happen to them,” Leonard Downie, Jr., vice president-at-large of CPJ, who wrote the report, told Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson. ”But they are very concerned about their sources’ fears. In several of these investigations the communications — the emails and the phone call logs between journalists and their sources in government — were seized and used against the government sources.”

In a statement to Politico, the Obama administration spokesman said the administration has provided “unprecedented openness in government.”

Downie says this is disingenuous, and reporters only get the administration’s side of a story.

“The problem is what they are making transparent are helpful to the image of the administration,” Downie said. “In some cases, it’s providing information about things journalists are barred from, so that you only get the government’s view.”

Guest

  • Leonard Downie, Jr., vice president-at-large of the Committee to Protect Journalists and former executive editor of the Washington Post. He tweets @lendownie.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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