Reporters without Borders Poses Press Freedom Question


Why visit the Maldives? For the lack of air conditioning, professional torture methods and occasional loaf of stale bread, of course. Offer for journalists only.

In its ongoing mission to drive home the importance of press freedom, Reporters without Borders runs this sad set of PSAs that invite watchdogs, travel agency-style, to exotic locales for a taste of the hard knocks. We particularly like Cuba.

The no-freedom-without-press-freedom line has probably been repeated from the birth of unregulated reporting (read: gossip) but takes on a new meaning these days. While the country pores over Britney's latest attempt at relevance and Googles news coverage on Anna Nicole postmortem, we haven't any idea what zany hijinks Bush is cooking up on the regular.

Is this a symptom or a forfeiture of genuine press freedom? Before answering that question, maybe we should work out what exactly it is the press does. There's enough news coverage now to spark any interest, so is it just a matter of mainstream priority what appears on legit news sources?

Does the public indeed determine media coverage, or is the media managed by bourgie-ass interest groups and corporations? What does it actually mean to have press freedom, anyway?

by Angela Natividad    Feb-21-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Campaigns, Magazine, Poster, Social   

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To your last couple of questions:

I do think the mainstream news business has put ratings ahead of its First-Amendment duty to inform the public on the doings of the government.

But I have also heard sound bites on the Randi Rhodes Show from Hardball's Chris Matthews and Tim Russert (who is evidently Matthews' boss) describing real intimidation from the White House.

Apparently, when Matthews decided to play the Plamegate story straight and really cover it, Russert got a visit from three guys from Cheney's office. They told Russert to pull Matthews back, and when he refused, they told him there would be consequences.

The result of Russert's intransigence, in their eyes, was that he wound up on the witness stand in the Libby trial accused of telling Libby the name of Valerie Plame, when of course the truth was exactly the opposite.

My apologies for not adding the exact links here -- I normally do -- but I'm out of time, and the sound bites are a week or so old. But I do know I heard them in the car on Randi's show, so I'm sure they're accessible.

Posted by: Mary Baum on February 21, 2007 3:37 PM

Where's the ad for the U.S.?

Posted by: Juan Pastor on February 22, 2007 10:55 AM