After the seizure of AP’s phone records, we ask if the US is still the land of the free for journalists and sources.
On May 10th, the Associated Press news agency received an email from the US Department of Justice saying that records of more than 20 phone lines assigned to its reporters had been secretly seized as part of an investigation into a government leak.
The government claimed it was a matter of national security, while the AP called it an unprecedented intrusion into its newsgathering operations. But should the journalistic community be so surprised? With the Obama White House’s track record on whistleblowers and WikiLeaks, the move to spy on AP seems consistent with an administration more committed to secrecy than ever before.
The United States is really starting to act like those one party democracies which are so abundant here in Asia. In those countries the governments use national security laws, which like the USA Patriot Act are so broad in there scope that anyone can be prosecuted under them. Singapore and Malaysia are prime examples of this. While South Korea my have elections and governments change one can still be arrested and prosecuted for simply reposting tweets from North Korea’s official account all done using sarcasm.