Great news. Last
night, thanks to the rapid response of Free Press activists, Arizona State
University lifted its blocking of student access to Change.org.
We hope ASU understands that it must put the free speech rights of its students first. Free Press has asked the university to scrutinize its Internet-use policies to ensure they don’t compromise these online freedoms.
After arresting more than 20 journalists in New York City,
and threatening press in various other ways, the New York City Police
Department has admitted
that it has reprimanded only two of its officers for their actions.
UPDATE: Today marks the beginning of a local media
monopoly in Tucson, Ariz. Exploiting loopholes in the Federal Communications
Commission’s ownership rules, Raycom Media has taken control of three local
stations: KMSB, KOLD and KTTU. The stations are now co-branded as “Tucson News Now” and they operate out
of the same studio (about 40 employees lighter than before).
Last November Free Press released On
the Chopping Block: State Budget Battles and the Future of Public Media,
an inventory of dramatic state-level funding cuts to public broadcasting. Our report,
co-authored by Josh Stearns and Mike Soha, documents how state support for
public broadcasting has plunged since the economy took a nosedive in 2008. What’s
more, the report notes that politics — not financial considerations — have
driven much of this budget cutting.
Cellphone companies including AT&T,
Sprint and T-Mobile use Carrier IQ to track what smartphone users are doing on
their phones, but it’s unclear what data is being tracked and what is being
done with that information. While both these companies and Carrier IQ claim
they want our most sensitive information only to diagnose hardware and software
problems, the public — and some members of Congress — still have questions
about what, exactly, this powerful software can do.
While most of the attention surrounding journalist arrests
at Occupy protests has focused on New York City, where more than 20 journalists
have been detained, it looks like Oakland will be giving the Big Apple a run
for its money. On Jan. 28, Oakland police detained six journalists during mass
arrests of Occupy protesters. This comes just weeks after Oakland police apprehended
another journalist who, in a video of
the arrest, appeared to be obeying orders to disperse.
week Reporters Without Borders released its 2011–2012
Press Freedom Index, and much of the attention has focused on the fact that
the United States dropped 27 places to 47th in the world, thanks in large
part to the journalist arrests at Occupy Wall Street events. For a nation that
has built its model of governance on freedom of the press, that ranking should
be a wake-up call, and should spark a
national debate about how we are going to defend the First Amendment in the
its own, the study from Reporters Without Borders is a powerful snapshot of
press freedom around the world. However, it’s worth cross-referencing the
report’s findings with a few other data points to better understand how the
United States stacks up, and why this ranking is so important. When the lists
below are viewed side by side, it becomes clear that press freedom correlates
directly with other measures of democratic health.
In last night’s State
of the Union address, President Obama called for a
“renewal of American values.” However, over the course of his wide-ranging
speech, he made no mention of one core value: the fundamental role of the free
press in America.
This absence was highlighted this morning when Reporters Without
Borders released its 2011–2012 global Press
Freedom Index. After months of journalist arrests
and press suppression at Occupy Wall Street-inspired protests, the United
States has plummeted in the rankings.