How Barack Obama has undermined freedom of the press

Joel Simon writes: President Obama took office in 2009 promising to make his administration the most transparent in American history. New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger, for one, says he’s failed.

“This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered,” said Sanger in a 2013 CPJ report, “The Obama Administration and the Press.” The report’s author, former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie, Jr., declared, “The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration.” As journalists often note, the Obama administration has prosecuted more leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all former presidents combined.

With less than two years remaining in his administration, there are still actions the president can take to strengthen transparency at home and increase US influence abroad, particularly advocacy on behalf of journalists facing persecution and violence as a result of their reporting.

According to the CPJ report, the Obama administration’s policies have undermined the role of the press in three fundamental ways. [Continue reading…]

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