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Freedom Of Speech Media Essay Introduction

Following my call for input I have received several contributions by NGO's, academics and citizens. I'm grateful for all the valuable information, ideas and viewpoints of which many are reflected in this discussion paper. Next Monday, 18 February, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament will have its first exchange of views; my first draft report is due for 8 March 2013.  I will keep you updated on the process and appreciate any comments or suggestions on this discussion paper. Thank you.  Marietje Schaake MEP



Freedom of the Press and Media in the World 


While free press and independent media are essential to protect and enable human rights and fundamental freedoms, journalists, media and freedom of speech are under threat all over the world. Treats are manifold: while several new online media platforms have multiplied the number of voices and opinions so have attempts by vested interests in silencing them.

A free press and independent media primarily are enables of basic human rights and channels through which citizens communicate, if diverse and pluralist, they also have social and active effects on societies, politics and debates. The recent massive and revolutionary (private) digitisation of media and information, whether via millions of blogs or instant live broadcasting, has magnified this impact but also blurred the fine line between these contradicting roles. Digitisation also adds new layers to questions about access, quality and objectivity of information.

The European Union, as a community of values, and through its external actions has an important role to play in promoting and defending press- and media freedom. The EU must lead in keeping media independent, plural and diverse, and in defending the position, freedom and security of journalists and bloggers. This is not to say that the EU would seek to interfere with content. Rather it would seek to support an enabling environment, and to limit restrictions to the free word.

The report that will follow this discussion paper aims to optimise the EU’s efforts and programmes to foster and protect press and media freedom worldwide, and to provide guidance on how to deal with the new digital media landscape. For the EU to do so effectively, we need to ensure the highest standards in press and media freedom within the EU.

This discussion paper would not have been as complete without the input of various stakeholders, who kindly responded to an online invitation to provide advice and expertise. At the same time, the European Parliament’s resolution should not re-invent the wheel or repeat the valuable work by NGO’s. Instead of merely assessing the freedom of the press and media in several countries, this paper takes a thematic approach, and emphasises the ways in which the EU can improve its policies and projects to be more sustainable and effective. Roles press and media play in societies all over the world In democratic societies, free, diverse and pluralist media enable public debates and serve as an essential check on power, either vested on governments, politicians or corporations. Additionally they provide access to information, and help foster both public and corporate transparency and accountability. The pluralism and diversity of opinions can ideally find lively and inclusive platforms where democratic debates thrive in open societies.

In many societies across the world however, it is precisely the powerful impact of independent journalism, and increasingly digital media and their cohesive effects, which create anxiety to those in power. Sunlight is a threat to those who seek to hide corruption, abuse of power, and injustice from the public eye. Journalists and media still mostly face restrictions coming from government interference. Should citizen journalists be distinguished from quality journalism and do different rights and responsibilities apply? Is a newspaper article more valuable than a 20 sentence online blog, and who should make that judgment?

In many countries there are fundamental threats to journalists and to media. Laws, statutory regulation, intimidation, tax fines, highly concentrated ownership by politicians or others with conflicting interests may limit the freedom to acquire and access information, or may lead to threats to freedom after expression. In the most extreme cases journalists are murdered or imprisoned. Censorship too often ends up fostering self-censorship. This does not only impact human rights and fundamental freedoms, but also impacts the business climate. The free flow of information should be a key priority in the EU's press and media programmes, and also an important element of external trade, development and human rights policies. Recent developments Recent developments, ranging from digitisation to the economic crisis have an impact on free speech media and journalists. Digitisation has transformed readers into bloggers, independent publishers of their thoughts and theories. While on the one hand digitisation can help people access information, collectively scrutinize officials and document and share injustices, new challenges such as mass surveillance, blocking, filtering, including through copyright enforcement by (incumbent) private actors and related intermediary liability need to be addressed. And how can investigative journalism exist, if it does not generate proportionate revenues for media? The commercial and the public interest are not always the same. The global economic crisis but also loss of revenue by traditional media has further strengthened the dominance of media monopolies and conglomerates, including some of the big data giants with exploding data and news market shares. Unlocking the full potential of digitisation requires good IT infrastructures, interoperability and appropriate regulation. These elements need to be incorporated in existing and developing media landscapes (in countries in transition) in conjunction with basis conditions of independence, plurality and diversity. Online, almost all platforms and services are in private hands, while people perceive the internet as a public space. A few dominant actors risk becoming the monopolists of the internet as well as the information citizens find online, based on their previous searches, opinions or expressions. Amidst discussions about who ought to pay for content, and whether personal information is security stored, who guards the public interest? Regulators can preserve competition, but perhaps new ways of engaging private actors in order to preserve the public value of information should be developed. While corporate social responsibility of media and online companies can play an important role, legal safeguards and international standards may need to ensure minimal benchmarks and requirements aimed at preserving independence and guaranteeing access. Self-regulation can bring about specific risks when unchecked. Corporations not only bear new responsibilities in a globally connected world, they also face new challenges that usually where entrusted by public authorities. The blocking of online new services based on religious or ethnical reasons have posed difficult choices for corporate boardrooms between operational continuity and 'editorial' independence. Massive leaks of private data and information have led to calls for increased democratic oversight and public scrutiny, but also call for debates on journalistic integrity and conduct. In recent years some media, notably in the EU, have come under scrutiny themselves for their unethical behaviour. The media may wish to be more transparent about codes of conduct (no hacking or tapping). Top down threats Governments are still primarily responsible for hampering free media in many countries in the world. Legal pressure has a seriously restricting impact on media freedom. The abuse of anti-terrorism, national security, treason and subversion laws criminalise journalists all over the world. Often there is no mechanism to challenge such decisions, and impunity prevents justice. Many journalists have no access to legal assistance, while they find themselves increasingly in the front lines of the struggle for freedom and justice, whether online or offline. Digital freedoms as online equivalents of more traditional rights and freedoms require and deserver equal protection. Beyond immediate legal limitations, both through the letter of the law and the implementation of laws, indirect pressure can also be brought by governments. In many countries media rely heavily on government advertising, which can become a tool to pressure media. Licences can also become means to restrict the operation of critical media, and the same goes for tax fines. When it comes to public service media, financial and political independence is essential, but too often media are still used as traditional tools for propaganda. The independence of regulators is equally important. EU policies and projects The EU addresses press- and media freedom through several policies and programs, and the EU should be ambitious. However, until now the European Commission lacks a specific overall focus on press and media freedom as well as a coherent driving vision and benchmarks. This lack of a comprehensive strategy leads to a great diversity in projects as well as available information on several projects. To navigate complicated grant application procedures might be feasible for large organisations, but risks cutting out smaller ones. Generally, bureaucratic burdens serve nobody’s interests and should be reduced. The European Commission (DEVCO) and the European External Action Service should work together more effectively and coordinate their programming. This means synergizing political and diplomatic work and by implementing projects and funding. A transition from ad hoc funding of projects should make room for a more sustainable approach, involving private donors that have become more obvious partners and interlocutors as a result of the widespread digitisation.

When the EU provides aid to countries in which media are restricted or journalists are under pressure, conditionality should be clear and specific in trade agreements, partnership-agreements or in the geographic programmes, as in the reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy. The EU can also educate governments, regulators and media alike, with the goal of fostering the appropriate regulations and technological approaches, especially during transitions that too often see new found and hard fought freedoms restricted in the name of stability and security.

Existing instruments such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights or Geographical Instruments should be used flexibly and should strengthen civil society. Local ownership and capacity building are essential to ensure sustainability. This is equally important when media projects are funded, or when broadcasters from the EU operate in third countries. Media development and assistance with freedom of expression should be an integral part of dialogue at country level as well as of trade and partnership agreements and aid. A more comprehensive and strategic approach to media development as part of electoral assistance programmes should be developed by the EU. To end impunity, assistance in investigating crimes against journalists and the establishment of legal defence funds and expertise can be provided by the EU. There is a lot the EU can do to be more effective and efficient in fostering press and media freedom. A coordinated, long term strategy, focusing on local capacity building and strong conditions when dealing with governments can help journalists and media work safely and independently. To that effect the EU should also improve its internal organization, including inter-departmental cooperation as well as improve analysis and evaluation of past, existing and future programming. For a number of elements relating to press freedom policies, the line between domestic and foreign affairs is thin. In the EU we must be aware of the impact we have in the world. Libel tourism in the UK and in other EU countries can have a negative impact on media freedom in third countries. Governments in turn should ensure high levels of whistleblower and source protections.

For other uses, see Freedom of the press (disambiguation).

Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the principle that communicate and express through various mediums, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely. Such freedom implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state; its preservation may be sought through constitutional or other legal protections.

With respect to governmental information, any government may distinguish which materials are public or protected from disclosure to the public. State materials are protected due to either of two reasons: the classification of information as sensitive, classified or secret, or the relevance of the information to protecting the national interest. Many governments are also subject to sunshine laws or freedom of information legislation that are used to define the ambit of national interest.

The United Nations' 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers".[1]

This philosophy is usually accompanied by legislation ensuring various degrees of freedom of scientificresearch (known as scientific freedom), publishing, and press. The depth to which these laws are entrenched in a country's legal system can go as far down as its constitution. The concept of freedom of speech is often covered by the same laws as freedom of the press, thereby giving equal treatment to spoken and published expression.

Relationship to self-publishing[edit]

Freedom of the press is construed as an absence of interference by outside entities, such as a government or religious organization, rather than as a right for authors to have their works published by other people.[2] This idea was famously summarized by the 20th century American journalist, A. J. Liebling, who wrote, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one".[2] Freedom of the press gives the printer or publisher exclusive control over what the publisher chooses to publish, including the right to refuse to print anything for any reason.[2] If the author cannot reach a voluntary agreement with a publisher to produce the author's work, then the author must turn to self-publishing.

Status of press freedom worldwide[edit]

Beyond legal definitions, several non-governmental organizations use other criteria to judge the level of press freedom around the world. Some create subjective lists, while others are based on quantitative data:

  • Reporters Without Borders considers the number of journalists murdered, expelled or harassed, and the existence of a state monopoly on TV and radio, as well as the existence of censorship and self-censorship in the media, and the overall independence of media as well as the difficulties that foreign reporters may face to rank countries in levels of press freedom.
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) systematically tracks the number of journalists killed and imprisoned in reprisal for their work. It says it uses the tools of journalism to help journalists by tracking press freedom issues through independent research, fact-finding missions, and a network of foreign correspondents, including local working journalists in countries around the world. CPJ shares information on breaking cases with other press freedom organizations worldwide through the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a global network of more than 119 free expression organizations. CPJ also tracks impunity in cases of journalist murders. CPJ staff applies strict criteria for each case; researchers independently investigate and verify the circumstances behind each death or imprisonment.
  • Freedom House studies the more general political and economic environments of each nation in order to determine whether relationships of dependence exist that limit in practice the level of press freedom that might exist in theory. Panels of experts assess the press freedom score and draft each country summary according to a weighted scoring system that analyzes the political, economic, legal and safety situation for journalists based on a 100-point scale. It then categorizes countries as having a free, party free, or not free press.

Annual report on journalists killed and Prison Census[edit]

Every year, the Committee to Protect Journalists releases its comprehensive list of all journalists killed in relation to their work, including profiles of each journalist and a database, and an annual census of journalists in jail as of midnight on December 1. 2017 was a record year from journalists jailed with 262 journalists behind bars. Turkey, China and Egypt accounted for more than half of all journalists jailed globally.

Worldwide press freedom index[edit]

Every year, Reporters Without Borders establish a subjective ranking of countries in terms of their freedom of the press. Press Freedom Index list is based on responses to surveys sent to journalists that are members of partner organisations of the RWB, as well as related specialists such as researchers, jurists and human rights activists. The survey asks questions about direct attacks on journalists and the media as well as other indirect sources of pressure against the free press, such as non-governmental groups.

In 2016, the countries where press was the most free were Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and New Zealand, followed by Costa Rica, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland and Jamaica. The country with the least degree of press freedom was Eritrea, followed by North Korea, Turkmenistan, Syria, China, Vietnam and Sudan.[4]

The problem with media in India, the world's largest democracy, is enormous. India doesn't have a model for a democratic press. The Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) has published a report[5] on India stating that Indian journalists are forced—or feel compelled for the sake of job security—to report in ways that reflect the political opinions and corporate interests of shareholders. The report written by Ravi S Jha says "Indian journalism, with its lack of freedom and self-regulation, cannot be trusted now—it is currently known for manipulation and bias."

Freedom of the Press[edit]

Freedom of the Press is a yearly report by US-based non-profit organization Freedom House. It is known to subjectively measure the level of freedom and editorial independence that is enjoyed by the press in every nation and significant disputed territories around the world. Levels of freedom are scored on a scale from 1 (most free) to 100 (least free). Depending on the basics, the nations are then classified as "Free", "Partly Free", or "Not Free".

In 2009 Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden topped the list with North Korea, Turkmenistan, Myanmar (Burma), Libya, Eritrea at the bottom.

Non-democratic states[edit]

According to Reporters Without Borders, more than a third of the world's people live in countries where there is no press freedom.[6] Overwhelmingly, these people live in countries where there is no system of democracy or where there are serious deficiencies in the democratic process.[7] Freedom of the press is an extremely problematic problem/concept for most non-democratic systems of government since, in the modern age, strict control of access to information is critical to the existence of most non-democratic governments and their associated control systems and security apparatus. To this end, most non-democratic societies employ state-run news organizations to promote the propaganda critical to maintaining an existing political power base and suppress (often very brutally, through the use of police, military, or intelligence agencies) any significant attempts by the media or individual journalists to challenge the approved "government line" on contentious issues. In such countries, journalists operating on the fringes of what is deemed to be acceptable will very often find themselves the subject of considerable intimidation by agents of the state. This can range from simple threats to their professional careers (firing, professional blacklisting) to death threats, kidnapping, torture, and assassination.

Regions closed to foreign reporters[edit]



Main article: Media freedom in the European Union

Central, Northern and Western Europe has a long tradition of freedom of speech, including freedom of the press. After World War II, Hugh Baillie, the president of United Press wire service based in the U.S., promoted freedom of news dissemination. In 1966 he called for an open system of news sources and transmission, and minimum of government regulation of the news. His proposals were aired at the Geneva Conference on Freedom of Information in 1948, but were blocked by the Soviets and the French.[13]

Media freedom is a fundamental right that applies to all member states of the European Union and its citizens, as defined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.[14]:1 Within the EU enlargement process, guaranteeing media freedom is named a "key indicator of a country's readiness to become part of the EU".[15]

Great Britain[edit]

According to the New York Times, "Britain has a long tradition of a free, inquisitive press", but "[u]nlike the United States, Britain has no constitutional guarantee of press freedom."[16] Freedom of the press was established in Great Britain in 1695, with Alan Rusbridger, former editor of The Guardian, stating: “When people talk about licensing journalists or newspapers the instinct should be to refer them to history. Read about how licensing of the press in Britain was abolished in 1695. Remember how the freedoms won here became a model for much of the rest of the world, and be conscious how the world still watches us to see how we protect those freedoms.”[17]

Until 1694, England had an elaborate system of licensing; the most recent was seen in the Licensing of the Press Act 1662. No publication was allowed without the accompaniment of a government-granted license. Fifty years earlier, at a time of civil war, John Milton wrote his pamphletAreopagitica (1644).[18] In this work Milton argued forcefully against this form of government censorship and parodied the idea, writing "when as debtors and delinquents may walk abroad without a keeper, but unoffensive books must not stir forth without a visible jailer in their title." Although at the time it did little to halt the practice of licensing, it would be viewed later a significant milestone as one of the most eloquent defences of press freedom.[18]

Milton's central argument was that the individual is capable of using reason and distinguishing right from wrong, good from bad. In order to be able to exercise this ration right, the individual must have unlimited access to the ideas of his fellow men in “a free and open encounter." From Milton's writings developed the concept of the open marketplace of ideas, the idea that when people argue against each other, the good arguments will prevail. One form of speech that was widely restricted in England was seditious libel, and laws were in place that made criticizing the government a crime. The King was above public criticism and statements critical of the government were forbidden, according to the English Court of the Star Chamber. Truth was not a defense to seditious libel because the goal was to prevent and punish all condemnation of the government.

Locke contributed to the lapse of the Licensing Act in 1695, whereupon the press needed no license. Still, many libels were tried throughout the 18th century, until "the Society of the Bill of Rights" led by John Horne Tooke and John Wilkes organised a campaign to publish Parliamentary Debates. This culminated in three defeats of the Crown in the 1770 cases of Almon, of Miller and of Woodfall, who all had published one of the Letters of Junius, and the unsuccessful arrest of John Wheble in 1771. Thereafter the Crown was much more careful in the application of libel; for example, in the aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre, Burdett was convicted, whereas by contrast the Junius affair was over a satire and sarcasm about the non-lethal conduct and policies of government.

In Britain's American colonies, the first editors discovered their readers enjoyed it when they criticized the local governor; the governors discovered they could shut down the newspapers. The most dramatic confrontation came in New York in 1734, where the governor brought John Peter Zenger to trial for criminal libel after the publication of satirical attacks. The defense lawyers argued that according to English common law, truth was a valid defense against libel. The jury acquitted Zenger, who became the iconic American hero for freedom of the press. The result was an emerging tension between the media and the government. By the mid-1760s, there were 24 weekly newspapers in the 13 colonies, and the satirical attack on government became common features in American newspapers.[19]

John Stuart Mill in 1869 in his book On Liberty approached the problem of authority versus liberty from the viewpoint of a 19th-century utilitarian: The individual has the right of expressing himself so long as he does not harm other individuals. The good society is one in which the greatest number of persons enjoy the greatest possible amount of happiness. Applying these general principles of liberty to freedom of expression, Mill states that if we silence an opinion, we may silence the truth. The individual freedom of expression is therefore essential to the well-being of society. Mill wrote:

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and one, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.[20]


Between September 4, 1770 and October 7, 1771 the kingdom of Denmark–Norway had the most unrestricted freedom of press of any country in Europe. This occurred during the regime of Johann Friedrich Struensee, whose second act was to abolish the old censorship laws. However, due to the great amount of mostly anonymous pamphlets published that was critical and often slanderous towards Struensee's own regime, he reinstated some restrictions regarding the freedom of press a year later, October 7, 1771.[21]


See also: Censorship in Italy

After the Italian unification in 1861, the Albertine Statute of 1848 was adopted as the constitution of the Kingdom of Italy. The Statute granted the freedom of the press with some restrictions in case of abuses and in religious matters, as stated in Article 28:[22]

The press shall be free, but the law may suppress abuses of this freedom. However, Bibles, catechisms, liturgical and prayer books shall not be printed without the prior permission of the Bishop.

After the abolition of the monarchy in 1946 and the abrogation of the Statute in 1948, the Constitution of the Republic of Italy guarantees the freedom of the press, as stated in Article 21, Paragraphs 2 and 3:[23]

The press may not be subjected to any authorisation or censorship. Seizure may be permitted only by judicial order stating the reason and only for offences expressly determined by the law on the press or in case of violation of the obligation to identify the persons responsible for such offences.

The Constitution allows the warrantlessconfiscation of periodicals in cases of absolute urgency, when the Judiciary cannot timely intervene, on the condition that a judicial validation must be obtained within 24 hours. Article 21 also gives restrictions against those publications considered offensive by public morality, as stated in Paragraph 6:

Publications, performances, and other exhibits offensive to public morality shall be prohibited. Measures of preventive and repressive measure against such violations shall be established by law.

Nazi Germany (1933–1945)[edit]

In 1933 freedom of the press was suppressed in Nazi Germany by the Reichstag Fire Decree of President Paul Von Hindenburg, just as Adolf Hitler was coming to power. Hitler largely suppressed freedom of the press through Joseph Goebbels' Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.[24] The Ministry acted as a central control-point for all media, issuing orders as to what stories could be run and what stories would be suppressed. Anyone involved in the film industry—from directors to the lowliest assistant—had to sign an oath of loyalty to the Nazi Party, due to opinion-changing power Goebbels perceived movies to have. (Goebbels himself maintained some personal control over every single film made in Nazi Europe.) Journalists who crossed the Propaganda Ministry were routinely imprisoned.

Sweden and Finland[edit]

One of the world's first freedom of the press acts was introduced in Sweden in 1766, mainly due to classical liberal member of parliament, Ostrobothnian priest, Anders Chydenius.[25][26][27][28] Excepted and liable to prosecution was only vocal opposition to the King and the Church of Sweden. The Act was largely rolled back after King Gustav's coup d'état in 1772, restored after the overthrowing of his son, Gustav IV of Sweden in 1809, and fully recognized with the abolition of the king's prerogative to cancel licenses in the 1840s.


United States[edit]

Main article: Freedom of the press in the United States

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that everyone has "the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication." [29]

The open court principle ensures the freedom of the press by requiring that court proceedings presumptively be open and accessible to the public and to the media.



Main article: Freedom of the press in China

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Singapore's media environment is considered to be highly controlled by the government.[30][31]


The Indian Constitution, while not mentioning the word "press", provides for "the right to freedom of speech and expression" (Article 19(1) a). However this right is subject to restrictions under sub clause (2), whereby this freedom can be restricted for reasons of "sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, preserving decency, preserving morality, in relation to contempt, court, defamation, or incitement to an offense". Laws such as the Official Secrets Act and Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act[32] (PoTA) have been used to limit press freedom. Under PoTA, person could be detained for up to six months for being in contact with a terrorist or terrorist group. PoTA was repealed in 2006, but the Official Secrets Act 1923 continues.

For the first half-century of independence, media control by the state was the major constraint on press freedom. Indira Gandhi famously stated in 1975 that All India Radio is "a Government organ, it is going to remain a Government organ..."[33] With the liberalization starting in the 1990s, private control of media has burgeoned, leading to increasing independence and greater scrutiny of government.

It ranks poorly at 136th[34] rank out of 179 listed countries in the Press Freedom Index 2013 released by Reporters Without Borders (RWB).[35] Analytically India's press freedom, as could be deduced by the Press Freedom Index, has constantly reduced since 2002, when it culminated in terms of apparent freedom, achieving a rank of 80 among the reported countries.

Implications of new technologies[edit]

Many of the traditional means of delivering information are being slowly superseded by the increasing pace of modern technological advance. Almost every conventional mode of media and information dissemination has a modern counterpart that offers significant potential advantages to journalists seeking to maintain and enhance their freedom of speech. A few simple examples of such phenomena include:

  • Satellite television versus terrestrial television: Whilst terrestrial television is relatively easy to manage and manipulate, satellite television is much more difficult to control as journalistic content can easily be broadcast from other jurisdictions beyond the control of individual governments. An example of this in the Middle East is the satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera. This Arabic-language media channel operates out of Qatar, whose government is relatively liberal compared to many of its neighboring states. As such, its views and content are often problematic to a number of governments in the region and beyond. However, because of the increased affordability and miniaturisation of satellite technology (e.g. dishes and receivers) it is simply not practicable for most states to control popular access to the channel.
  • Internet-based publishing (e.g., blogging, social media) vs. traditional publishing: Traditional magazines and newspapers rely on physical resources (e.g., offices, printing presses) that can easily be targeted and forced to close down. Internet-based publishing systems can be run using ubiquitous and inexpensive equipment and can operate from any global jurisdiction. Nations and organisations are increasingly resorting to legal measures to take control of online publications, using national security, anti-terror measures and copyright laws to issue takedown notices and restrict opposition speech.[36]
  • Internet, anonymity software and strong cryptography: In addition to Internet-based publishing the Internet in combination with anonymity software such as Tor and cryptography allows for sources to remain anonymous and sustain confidentiality while delivering information to or securely communicating with journalists anywhere in the world in an instant (e.g. SecureDrop, WikiLeaks)
  • Voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) vs. conventional telephony: Although conventional telephony systems are easily tapped and recorded, modern VOIP technology can employ low-cost strong cryptography to evade surveillance. As VOIP and similar technologies become more widespread they are likely to make the effective monitoring of journalists (and their contacts and activities) a very difficult task for governments.

Naturally, governments are responding to the challenges posed by new media technologies by deploying increasingly sophisticated technology of their own (a notable example being China's attempts to impose control through a state-run internet service provider that controls access to the Internet) but it seems that this will become an increasingly difficult task as journalists continue to find new ways to exploit technology and stay one step ahead of the generally slower-moving government institutions that attempt to censor them.

In May 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed legislation intended to promote a free press around the world, a bipartisan measure inspired by the murder in Pakistan of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001. The legislation, called the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, requires the United States Department of State to expand its scrutiny of news media restrictions and intimidation as part of its annual review of human rights in each country.[37] In 2012 the Obama Administration collected communication records from 20 separate home and office lines for Associated Press reporters over a two-month period, possibly in an effort to curtail government leaks to the press. The surveillance caused widespread condemnation by First Amendment experts and free press advocates, and led 50 major media organizations to sign and send a letter of protest to American attorney general Eric Holder.[38][39]

Organizations for press freedom[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^"Universal Declaration of Human Rights". United Nations. Retrieved 7 August 2017. 
  2. ^ abcPowe, L. A. Scot (1992). The Fourth Estate and the Constitution: Freedom of the Press in America. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520913165. 
  3. ^"2017 World Press Freedom Index". Reporters Without Borders. 2017. 
  4. ^"2016 World Press Freedom Index". Reporters Without Borders. 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  5. ^http://www.cjfe.org/indias_free_press_problem
  6. ^ ab"Description: Reporters Without Borders". The Media Research Hub. Social Science Research Council. 2003. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  7. ^Freedom House (2005). "Press Freedom Table (Press Freedom vs. Democracy ranks)". Freedom of the Press 2005. UK: World Audit. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  8. ^"Editor's daughter killed in mysterious circumstances", International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), 2 July 2002
  9. ^"Ukraine remembers slain reporter", BBC News, 16 September 2004
  10. ^"Do journalists have the right to work in Chechnya without accreditation?". Moscow Media Law and Policy Center. March 2000. Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  11. ^"India praises McCain-Dalai Lama meeting". Washington, D.C.: WTOPews.com. July 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  12. ^Landay, Jonathan S. (March 20, 2008). "Radical Islamists no longer welcome in Pakistani tribal areas". McClatchy Washington Bureau. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  13. ^Eleonora W. Schoenebaum, ed. (1978), Political Profiles: The Truman Years, pp. 16–17, Facts on File Inc., ISBN 9780871964533.
  14. ^Maria Poptcheva, Press freedom in the EU Legal framework and challenges, EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service, Briefing April 2015
  15. ^"European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations". European Commission. Archived from the original on 2016-01-24. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  16. ^"British Press Freedom Under Threat", Editorial, New York Times, 14 November 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  17. ^"Leveson Inquiry: British press freedom is a model for the world, editor tells inquiry". The Telegraph. 14 October 2017. 
  18. ^ abSanders, Karen (2003). Ethics & Journalism. Sage. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-7619-6967-9.
2017 Press Freedom Index[3]

  Very serious situation

  Difficult situation

  Noticeable problems

  Satisfactory situation

  Good situation

  Not classified / No data

Freedom of the Press Map 2015

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