There is nothing as important to a free, just, and democratic society, than the freedom of the press. Now, that journalistic independence is under siege from a variety of threats. The U.S. government is cracking down on whistle-blowers, leaks, and sources, with vengeful resolve. Media consolidation has molded the content of national news coverage so that it conforms to the interests of the political establishment. Journalists are attacking other journalists for simply doing their jobs, while Mexican drugs cartels are slaughtering reporters who dare to expose their nefarious activities. To say these are troubling times would be a gross understatement.
“Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked columnist Glenn Greenwald why he shouldn’t be charged with a crime for working with NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Greenwald was on to discuss his source’s Sunday morning flight from Hong Kong to Moscow. (It is unclear where Snowden will ultimately land, though reports have suggested he is headed to Venezuela.) At the tail end of the conversation, Gregory suddenly asked Greenwald why the government shouldn’t be going after him.
“To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” he asked.
Greenwald replied that it was “pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies,” and that there was no evidence to back up Gregory’s claim that he had “aided” Snowden.
Marcela Turati, a reporter from the Mexican magazine Proceso, was the keynote speaker at the Investigative Reporters & Editors 2013 conference. Photo: Courtesy Photo
Before a large audience of investigative journalists, Marcela Turati spoke of how reporters have risked their lives and died covering the drug war raging in Mexico.
“Many journalists tried to speak out, but they were silenced,” Turati said. “And they are still trying.”
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Inside the packed ballroom, Turati said there’s a need for American journalists to write about the massacres, rapes and thousands of missing people that is happening “less than three hours away” from San Antonio.
She spoke about reporters who were slain trying to expose corruption in a country that had become a battlefield. She talked about how drug traffickers threatened reporters, causing some to flee to the United States only to earn wages for doing menial work.
Also, she told of how of how the violence has affected the psyche of targeted journalists: One asked a friend for a pistol to kill himself rather than face a torture squad. Another reporter kissed his family members in their sleep and waited in his living room to be taken away by assailants.