Press Freedom on the Decline

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Worldwide press freedom is on the decline, according to Reporters Without Borders.  Finland, Norway and Denmark have the freest media, while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea are at the bottom of the list.  China slid to 176 out of 180, and the US dropped 29 spots to number 49 out of 180 countries meaning its press is less free than that in Burkina Faso, Salvador or Botswana.  Why the precipitous slide?

“We consider that the Obama administration has launched a war against whistleblowers,” [RSF US Director Delphine] Halgand said. “This year is a continuation of the concern we already expressed that national security protection has been more and more threatening freedom of information in the U.S.”

The organization is also concerned about the impact of Ferguson, where at least 15 journalists were arrested.

Last week, blogpost of the week was Collin Fifer’s on disaster porn.

Please come to class on time tomorrow, since we will be watching a film.

Reading: Dexter Filkins “The Forever War” 168-277

Into the Valley of Death (Sebastian Junger, Vanity Fair)

ASSIGNMENT: For Thursday Feb 26th 9 am:  How developed is citizen journalism in your country?   Write a 500 word blog profiling one prominent citizen journalist (extra credit if you manage to interview them!)  Make sure to also provide the context for your country, such as how many citizen journalists there are, what challenges they face and which social media tools are the most popular.   If there are no citizen journalists, write a piece analyzing the obstacles to the emergence of citizen journalism – or, if you have touched upon that before – whether there are prominent citizen journalists in exile.



After a weekend of extraordinary rallies attended by 3.7m people in France, here’s the cover of the new Charlie Hebdo magazine.  The latest reports say that three million copies will be printed.



Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer, Richard Malka, said it will carry cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, “We will not give in otherwise all this won’t have meant anything,” he told France Info radio on Monday, which broadcast from the magazine’s heavily guarded temporary offices at Libération newspaper.

“Humour without self-deprecation isn’t humour. We mock ourselves, politicians, religions, it’s a state of mind you need to have…..The Charlie state of mind is the right to blaspheme.”   Meanwhile, as the Obama administration regrets not showing up at the march, questions are being asked about exactly who was ‘supporting’ press freedom.  Question is: was it really a solidarity march for them or a photo-op?


And to finish, a quick reminder that tomorrow’s class will be a WordPress session in the Mac lab on the 2f of the Modern Languages Building.   Come armed with your own wordpress site.