Human RightsNorth America

US plummets in press freedom rankings

n00351195-bA new report by Reporters Without Borders has shown that there has been a major decline in press freedom in the United States.
US plummets in press freedom rankings The US plunged 13 places from 32nd to 46th in the France-based group’s 2014 World Press Freedom Index.

The plunge was mainly caused by revelations about the US government’s spying activities and the crackdown on whistleblowers and journalists who brought to light Washington’s spying programs.

The US also dropped 27 places to the 47th place in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index in 2012 after several journalists were arrested while covering the Occupy protests.

Press freedom in the US saw some progress in 2013 but it faced “one of the most significant declines” in the world last year, according to Reporters Without Borders, mostly due to attacks on whistleblowers.

Last year, American whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents he had obtained from the National Security Agency which showed, among other things, how the US spied on Americans’ phone calls and the online activities of all people around the world.

Fearing prosecution, Snowden had fled to Hong Kong before making the revelations. He then fled to Russia and was granted temporary asylum there in August.

Snowden is wanted in the US on espionage charges and even some former US officials, like former CIA director James Woolsey, have suggested that he should be hanged.

The Obama administration has repeatedly said that Snowden committed crimes by disclosing US spying programs and National Intelligence Director James Clapper once referred to journalists who helped expose such programs as Snowden’s “accomplices.”

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