An October 2013 report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) stated that the Obama administration is hindering the press even more than it appears. President Obama has signed several bills in favor of press freedoms, however these are more for his own publicity then for public interest. The CPJ report outlines several policies “meant to deter whistleblowers and freeze communications between the press and government sources”.
During the Obama administration there have been eight government employees prosecuted under the Espionage Act. This is twice as many as any administration before Obama.
A new “Insider Threat Program,” being undertaken across all federal government departments, requires all federal employees to help prevent unauthorized disclosures of information by monitoring their colleagues’ behavior.
According to the report, “Aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance programs deter government sources from speaking to journalists.”
The report by the Committee to Protect Journalists is especially significant because, in its nearly 30 years, the CPJ has never seen the need to produce a report on the restriction of press freedoms inside the United States.
Zoe Carpenter, “A Grim Report on Press Freedoms Under Obama” The Nation, October 10, 2013, http://www.thenation.com/blog/176586/grim-report-press-freedoms-under-obama.
Leonard Downie Jr. and Sara Rafsky, “The Obama Administration and the Press: Leak Investigations and Surveillance in Post-9/11 America,” Committee to Protect Journalists, October 10, 2013, http://www.cpj.org/reports/us2013-english.pdf.
Student Researcher: Samantha Cowley (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)