by Nadia Prupis
April 21, 2016
cause for concern for RSF
continues to be the
obsessive control of
(Photo: Roger H. Goun/flickr/cc)
Borders' annual rankings
find US's relative improvement
"hides overall negative trends"
The U.S. ranks 41st out of 180 countries
in Reporters Without Borders/Reporters Sans Frontières' (RSF)
2016 press freedom
index (below insert), largely due to the government's "war on whistleblowers,"
mass surveillance, and the lack of a shield law for journalists that
guarantees their right not to reveal sources or other confidential
That's despite the fact that the U.S.
actually moved higher in the rankings this year, advancing from its
previous position at 49th in 2015.
Its "relative improvement by
comparison hides overall negative trends," the organization stated
press release accompanying the report.
Much of the criticism regards President
Barack Obama's administration, as well as the crackdown on civil
rights coverage during the
Lives Matter protests that took place over the past two years.
The group writes:
The main cause for concern for RSF
continues to be the current administration's obsessive control
of information, which manifests itself through the war on
whistleblowers and journalists' sources, as well as the lack of
transparency, which reporters have continually criticized.
The Obama administration has
prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all
previous administrations combined.
Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA operative, was convicted
solely on the basis of metadata in January 2015 of disclosing
classified information to James Risen and is now serving a 3.5
year prison sentence.
[....] RSF is also still troubled by
the arrest of journalists during #Blacklivesmatter protests in
"There is still room for
improvement in the country of the First Amendment," says
Delphine Halgand, RSF's US Director.
RSF's annual report measures the level
of press freedom worldwide using the following indicators: