Reporters Without Borders – not independent but “strictly linked to US foreign policy”

4th May 2016 / Editors Picks, Global

Reporters Without Borders has published the latest 2016 report on press freedom where Britain has fallen yet again with the organisation making the following statement about press freedom in Britain:

“Terrorist attacks have led to the adoption of draconian security legislation. The government reacted to the London public transport bombings in 2005 with a Terrorism Act the following year that restricts freedom of expression. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) adopted in 2000 allows the authorities to obtain the phone records of journalists in cases of threats to national security. Worse still, despite a law protecting the confidentiality of sources, the police have since 1984 been able to ask the courts to order media outlets to hand over unpublished journalistic source material “in the interests of justice.”

It is hardly surprising that Britain has fallen 4 places in 2016 behind such countries as; Tonga, Belize, OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States), Samoa, Ghana, Suriname, Namibia, Jamaica, with Burkino Faso and Botswana just behind, given recent legislative actions by the Conservative government since 2010.

The Guardian revealed in January 2015 that the British intelligence agency GCHQ described journalists as a “potential threat to security” and that huge quantities of emails of many journalists were among the interceptions that went as far back as 2008. It was only the result of the Edward Snowden leaks that as many as 70,000 emails from journalists captured by Britain’s surveillance agency became known.

On the 15th October, Gordon Raynor, Chief Reporter at The Telegraph said– “Investigative journalism will be stopped dead in its tracks and local newspapers may be driven out of business when new laws restricting Britain’s free press come into force next month.” He continues – Media organisations face “the most substantial threat to press freedom in the modern era” as a result of the “menacing” laws passed in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry.

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An independent report into the implications of the Crime and Courts Act, which came into force on November 3, says that The Telegraph’s landmark investigation into what turned out to be the most explosive political scandal in decades over MPs’ expenses would have been all but impossible under the new regime.

Britain sitting at number 38 flatters reality.

‘Freedom of Press’ is published by the US-based Freedom House, an NGO established in 1941 that has been ranking countries worldwide since 1980 in relation to democracy, human rights and press freedom. In May 2014 it reported that Britain has slipped down the global rankings for freedom of the press to 36th place.

According to Freedom House, “only 13 percent of the world’s population enjoys a free press—that is, where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.” Although Britain is ranked as safe in press freedom terms one has to wonder given the very heavy handed behaviour by the government at The Guardian over the Snowden files and state surveillance over journalists more widely.

Meanwhile, without any sense of shame, US President Obama, the leader of the ‘free-world’, having presided over continual declines in press freedom sees the USA drop to a pitiful 41st place has the Whitehouse Briefing Room release the following statement (first paragraph):

“On World Press Freedom Day, we thank the journalists around the world without whom democracy could not flourish and whose courageous work helps hold authorities to account. These are the men and women who work to ensure that debate on public issues can be, in the words of Justice William Brennan, “uninhibited, robust, and wide open.”

One glaring component missing from all these so-called press freedom reports is that the biggest economic trade deals in the history of humanity are due to be signed in 2016 …. in total secrecy. In the EU, the European Commission is making the secret Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal even more secret than any normal person would think possible by the introduction of a new rule last year that means politicians can only view (some selected) TTIP text in a secure ‘reading room’ in Brussels. That is, of course, only after their mobile phones, memo pads, and pens have been taken away and two guards ominously placed in the room to ensure no notes are taken. And even then only after signing confidentiality agreements that threaten prosecutions for any leaks.

In the US, the same ‘reading room’ exists. As The Independent reports:

“In the basement of the US capitol, there is a room, a locked soundproof room, and the only people allowed in this room are US senators, and they can’t bring their assistants, they can’t bring their phones, they can’t even take notes in there. Inside this room is not the codes for our nuclear weapons, it’s not CIA files, it’s not the documents that tell us an alien landed in Roswell. No, in this room is the text of a trade deal (TTIP).”

Press freedom?? This type of secrecy, designed by corporations and the unelected politicians of the EU Commission would have made Joseph Goebbels in Nazi Germany proud. The EU Commission have now become completely independent of the politicians who represent the 508 million citizens of the 28 nation bloc where millions sign petitions and protest on the streets, get arrested and/or fined in their thousands and yet remain unheard. This is extreme press freedom censorship in every sense of the word. It says something when citizens have to rely on people like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden for any real information on the matter – and both of them are in hiding from British and American police.

And so we come back to RWB who that as it turns out, is financed by none other than the US Congress and by various agencies tied to the US government – who coincidentally are conducting the talks on TTIP.

As GlobalResearch reports: “If we go to the RWB website to find who stands behind these self-anointed judges of world press freedom, we find nothing. Not even their board of directors are named, let alone their financial backers. Their annual published Income and Expenditure statements give no clue who stands behind them financially. RWB’s former Secretary General Robert Menard admitted that the budget for the organization was provided by “US organizations strictly linked with US foreign policy.”

Unfortunately, Reporters Without Borders are pretty much in the same boat as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists amongst many others who have thoroughly important sounding names but in the end prove to be little more than propagandists for their masters.

We asked Reporters Without Borders why there had been no mention of TTIP in any of their reports. At the time of publication, we have received no reply.

Graham Vanbergen – truepublica.org.uk

 

 

 

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