A new global survey released Tuesday gauging freedom of the press and government openness found the U.S. plummeting to 46th in the world, falling behind Romania. The U.S. plunged 13 slots, from 32nd to 46th in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index, which draws data from 180 countries on various press freedom issues, such as the independence of the media from government strictures and oversight and governmental abuses.
The press freedom advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, who creates the index, cites the Obama administration’s handling of the Edward Snowden situation, NSA leaks, the Bradley Manning case, and the Justice Department’s probes of the Associated Press among the high-profile causes for the precipitous decline in confidence in the administration’s stance on press freedoms and transparency.
As The Washington Times reported Tuesday, Geoffrey King, internet advocacy coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, explained the decline in press freedom as largely stemming from the federal government’s growing “surveillance apparatus”:
“Journalists are being caught up in what is, I think, fairly characterized as a rapidly growing surveillance apparatus, and this is happening all over the world.”
In the past years, tactics have shifted from surveillance of individual terrorists and spies to a dragnet approach to control information, Mr. King said.