- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 4 Hour
- Reading permission
Freedom of the press is praised as a pillar of American democracy, the cornerstone of a free society – but American press is not as free as most think.|
Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post, wrote the 30-page analysis, which is the first time the organization has cast scrutiny on the Obama administration's relationship with the media.
"In Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press," said Downie, who is now a journalism professor at Arizona State University.
"The Obama administration's aggressive war on leaks and its determined efforts to control information that the news media needs to hold the government accountable for its actions are without an equal since the Nixon administration," he added.
Compared with his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, analysts said Obama has been pursuing tighter press control out of national security concerns and constant secret divulgences.
Since 2009, six US government employees and two contractors, including Snowden, have been prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act for leaking classified information to the media, in contrast to just three such prosecutions filed in all previous US administrations, the report said.
Downie interviewed numerous reporters and editors following revelations this year that the government secretly seized records for telephone lines and switchboards used by more than 100 Associated Press journalists. He also interviewed journalists whose sources have been prosecuted on felony charges.
David E. Sanger, the former chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times, described the Obama administration as "the most closed, control-freak administration I've ever covered".
Journalists and sources suspected of discussing classified information are increasingly subject to investigation, lie-detector tests, scrutiny of telephone and e-mail records and now surveillance by co-workers under a new "Insider Threat Program" in every agency, the report said.