US Government Can Spy on Journalists

The US government can monitor journalists under a foreign intelligence law that allows invasive spying and operates outside the traditional court system, according to newly released documents. Targeting members of the press under the law, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, requires approval from the Justice Department’s highest-ranking officials, the documents show. In two 2015 memos for the FBI, the attorney general spells out “procedures for processing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications targeting known media entities or known members of the media.” The documents were turned over by the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy to the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Knight First Amendment Institute as part of an ongoing lawsuit seeking the Trump administration’s rules for when and how the government can spy on journalists, including during leak investigations.

Source: The Intercept

Posted on: September 20, 2018

EIJC/Dataharvest Becomes Independent

One of the leading investigative journalism events -- the European Investigative Journalism Conference (aka Dataharvest) -- is going independent, breaking off from its long-time parent organization, GIJN-member Journalismfund.eu. The decision of the Journalismfund board will allow the fund "to focus more on its core activities, in particular acting as an intermediary body to fund independent, high value, cross-border journalism," according to a September 18 press release. At the same time, the move will free up the EIJC to expand its growing conference, which this year drew a record 470 participants from 52 countries. Said Journalismfund Managing Director Ides Debruyne: “The seed has been planted. Now it’s time to harvest.“

Source: Journalismfund.eu

Posted on: September 18, 2018

Harassed: Reporting While Female

Nearly one-third of female journalists surveyed considered leaving the profession due to online attacks and threats. That’s according to “Attacks and Harassment: The Impact on Female Journalists and Their Reporting,” which was released by the International Women’s Media Foundation and TrollBusters last week. Researchers also found that 70 percent of the women surveyed experienced more than one type of harassment, threat or attack, while 52 percent of respondents have experienced an offense in the past year. Against a global backdrop that has changed significantly in the past five years both politically and digitally, the report describes how different actors are using physical and social media strategies against women journalists to intimidate, sow disinformation, discredit the journalist and the news media and create significant professional harm.

Source: IWMF

Posted on: September 17, 2018

New RSF Info & Democracy Panel

Seventy years after the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has formed of a panel of 25 prominent figures -- including Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, Nobel economics laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and Nigerian human rights lawyer Hauwa Ibrahim -- to draft an International Declaration on Information and Democracy. The panel is being created at a time when “the crisis of trust in democracies and the growing influence of despotic regimes pose a major threat to freedoms, civil harmony and peace,” the co-chairs wrote.

Source: RSF

Posted on: September 12, 2018

UNESCO Handbook to #FightFakeNews

A new manual “Journalism, 'Fake News' and Disinformation: A Handbook for Journalism Education and Training” was released by UNESCO for practicing journalists as well as those who teach journalism. Written by experts in the fight against disinformation, the handbook explores the nature of journalism with modules on why trust matters; thinking critically about how digital technology and social platforms are conduits of the information disorder; fighting back against disinformation and misinformation through media and information literacy; fact-checking 101; social media verification and combating online abuse.

Source: UNESCO

Posted on: September 10, 2018

Myanmar Sentences Reuters Pair to 7 Years

In a case watched worldwide, a Myanmar court on Monday sentenced two Reuters correspondents to seven years in prison for violating that country's archaic Official Secrets Act. The two men, Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were detained in December 2017 while investigating the mass killing of a Rohingya villagers. The case has been widely denounced as harassment by press freedom groups and the UN. "The United Nations has consistently called for the release of the Reuters journalists and urged the authorities to respect their right to pursue freedom of expression and information," said Knut Ostby, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar.

Source: CNN

Posted on: September 3, 2018

News “Trust” Ratings Launches in US

NewsGuard Technologies, a new service that uses journalists to rate news and information sites, launched its first product today: web extensions that let users view vetted, non-partisan trust ratings for news and information websites. Users can install the extension for the Microsoft Edge browser and Google Chrome, and websites will feature either red or green rating icons. NewsGuard, co-founded by journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, says that by October it hopes to have completed ratings for 2,000 sites responsible for 98 percent of the news and information shared online in English in the US. Brill says Spanish language sites will be added by year end.

Source: Axios

Posted on: August 28, 2018

Nepal Criminal Code Trashes Press Freedom

A new Nepal criminal code that came into effect August 17 threatens to severely restrict press freedom in that Himalayan country, according to GIJN member Center for Investigative Journalism, Nepal and Media Action Nepal. The new laws criminalize such journalistic activity as recording and listening to conversations, disclosing private information even on public figures, photographing people without consent, and satirizing "that disrespects an individual." The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for immediate revision of the code, which it brands "a giant step backward for press freedom."

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Posted on: August 21, 2018

News Quiz: Who Said What — Stalin, Mao, Orwell or Trump?

As US news organizations large and small join to denounce Donald Trump's war against the press, the tiny Voices of Monterey Bay is marking the day with an enlightening news quiz on press freedom. Find out if you know who said what on the media's role: Stalin, Mao, Orwell, or Trump. "We will make no arguments," say the editors, "but we expect you will likely reach a simple conclusion of your own by the time you complete the quiz."

Source: Voices of Monterey Bay

Posted on: August 16, 2018

GDPR Effect: Hundreds of US News Sites Unavailable in Europe

Websites had two years to get ready for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) but rather than comply, about a third of the 100 largest US newspapers have instead chosen to block European visitors to their sites. The GDPR -- which requires websites to obtain consent from users before collecting personal information, explain what data are being collected and why and delete a user’s information if requested -- took effect May 25. Digital properties such as those operated by Tronc, Lee Enterprises and GateHouse Media are unavailable in Europe. Violating the GDPR can draw a hefty fine -- as much as 4 percent of a company’s annual revenue.

Source: Nieman Lab

Posted on: August 15, 2018