"U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day"

departmentseal2.jpg Perfect timing!
The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day event in 2011 ... The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals' right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.
World Press Freedom Day 2011 has a Facebook page, which describes it as "an opportunity to defend journalists and media organisations from attacks on their independence." U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011 [Department of State] Previously: Lieberman: New York Times may be investigated for espionage, Assange arrested in Britain


  1. Lol. while on the subject of absurdity and irony why not give Obama the nobel prize of peace before he even achieves anything.. o wait.
    War is peace
    Freedom is slavery
    ignorance is streangth

    etc etc

  2. 1st of May of 1st of April. i think they made a mistake in the announcement.

    Irony, hypocrisy, really i don’t know what to think about.
    The land of the free still means the same or they have made the same with that sentence that they have done with the freedom press.

  3. Yea, that event should be on December Fools Day (for us, Latin people, April fools day is on December 28th).

    Anyway, this is tooooooo gooooood!. It made me smile, thanks!.

  4. It all depends on how you define freedom, I suppose. In Orwell’s 1984, freedom = slavery. So, perhaps it isn’t so ironic. It might have been 50 years ago, but we live in a much more twisted world now than we did then.

  5. Haahahha thats funny, for maximum irony Lieberman should be invited as a speaker to any official kicking off event.

  6. Scrolling down the page, before I even saw the rest of the post, I had to laugh out loud at that headline.

  7. I used to think that the writing on the wall would come in the form of arresting or censoring journalists. Then I realized you don’t need to censor journalists when they censor themselves.

  8. There are neither enough faces nor enough palms in the WORLD to adequately facepalm over this announcement.

  9. There’s an even bigger irony buried in the press release:

    Highlighting the many events surrounding the celebration will be the awarding of the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize at the National Press Club on May 3rd. This prize, determined by an independent jury of international journalists, honors a person, organization or institution that has notably contributed to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom, especially where risks have been undertaken

    If the above is even halfway accurate, anyone want to guess at the odds on Assange and/or Wikileaks being a serious contender for this prize? At this event being held in the country attempting to destroy him? I would laugh and laugh and laugh.

  10. It’s worth noting that Assange was detained for questioning on rape charges at the request of SWEDEN. Anything beyond that is pure supposition. Many wonder if the charges are part of a coordinated international effort to gag him, but until I see any tangible evidence of a conspiracy, I am reserving judgement.

    I’ll be surprised and dismayed if Assange is ever even charged with a crime related to the leaks. It seems implausible to me that the Justice Department would not have already done so by now if they could.

    Meanwhile, the NY Times continues to freely publish the leaks. Amazon & Paypal, neither journalistic outlets, caved to pressure because they are businesses who value good PR and favorable relationships with lawmakers. They made that choice, but they didn’t have to.

    I guess my point is that we still have some of the best protections, if not the best, for journalists in this country. Almost too free, when you consider what Fox News is allowed to get away with on a daily basis. If there is a place with a freer press, I’d like to know about it. Seriously, if anybody knows please respond to this.

    1. Aren’t wikileaks servers in Sweden because they can act under even more protection than they could in the US? Wouldn’t that mean that freedom for the press is even better protected there? And I think the same is true for the Netherlands and Denmark.

    2. The “rape” charges are not the same definition used in the US. They keep reporting them that way to make the bad man look bad.
      He has been tried and convicted in the media over and over.
      If you look at the actual charges he might have done something wrong, but he did not grab a child off a playground and force them to have sex at knife point. And there is the whole question of charged, oops our bad, oh never mind we want to charge him again.

      Sweden, you mean that country that at the behest and demand on the US and Hollywood violated the laws of their country and stole TPB servers? No Swedish law was broken, but the US exerted pressure to get its way to protect Hollywood. Yeah Sweden can’t be bought, and there is no way there are any secret diplomatic cables in an archive now demanding he be charged and extradited so he can conveniently have an accident or end up in a country where they can torture him for making them look bad.

      If he committed a crime, something no one has bothered to determine yet, he needs to pay the price for it. But I’d rather see a fair trial than this witch hunt.

  11. Look its very simple: you write what you want unless they don’t you want you to. Its freedom without problems. They’ve just trimmed the fat off the whole thing.

  12. I don’t see the irony. Consider the following:

    1) All considered, the press in the US is pretty damn free. It has protections and privileges in addition to those of the average US citizen. And far above 90% of the Earth’s population.

    2) The press and government are frequently at odds, with the press easily winning the majority of the time. The rare occasions the government prevails are well documented and reported … in the press.

    3) Other than something you have agreed to keep secret, think of any fact, opinion, or analysis you know that you would be afraid to publish. How long is the list? Any there because it will hurt feelings? When self censorship occurs, it is vastly more often to avoid controversy or criticism. Freedom of the press is not protection from people calling you a jerk. Freedom of the press is freedom to decide if the information you have is worth being called a jerk.

    4) Imperfect freedom of the press in the US is not absence of freedom. It is caused by 2 or more competing needs being hashed out in real time by real people. Sometimes someone’s rights supersede the press’. Might not always be the right call. But the seriousness of each debate is evidence of the protected nature of the press.

    The American press has a huge number of problems. Lack of freedom is not one of them.

  13. Like we used to say about wars. Wouldn’t it be great if they held one and nobody came? It is to laugh.

  14. Apparently the former Iraqi Information Minister is something of a role model for the organizers of this event.

  15. “The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011″

    Ha ha, good one! Made me laugh. The “United States”, “Press Freedom”, lol!

    Wait, what?

  16. Oh the delicious, yummy, sweet, sweet irony!

    But, then again, the US government seems to define media as “folks and organizations that say things we stamp as A-OK.”

    I’ve had the thought that what if WikiLeaks had acquired a huge trove of Chinese government military docs and diplomatic missives. Would we (the US and the European nations) be aiming criticism at them if they acted like we have? Say that they are attempting to unlawfully and immorally censor? Speak out against the DDOS attacks? Scorn their use of bullying to deny server space and bandwidth to WikiLeaks and to shut down funding avenues?

    I think these nations would.

    It’s good when this sort of thing happens to a nation of “Evil”, but not to us self professed “White Hats”…

    1. I have not seen enough of the rest of the world’s press to judge of the accuracy of your assertion. But in the absence of evidence I’ll guess that you may be essentially correct.

    2. Mister44: Try 20th on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index:


      And I suspect that we’re going to be dropping a few ranks in the next refresh of that index. Why?

      Threatening espionage charges against mainstream and internet media for simply reporting on your leaked information is not a good sign of a free press.

      Nor is cutting off the ability to fund websites posting information you don’t like, based upon illegality which has been neither specified nor proven.

      Nor is enacting laws to make it illegal for anyone on earth to disseminate information your country leaked: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h7kQnYCq1CCi3tThESRvueHAVvYQ?docId=CNG.2a8de8a8d715bbf5472f2a7f29d9a3be.4d1

      We are no longer the country we used to be, sadly.

      1. Your chart of numbers is more or less meaningless other than to show clear contrasts between those that do and do not have it. The data is collected from questionnaires – PERCEPTIONS – not hard facts or statistics. The numbers – what ever they mean – run from 0 to 105, meaning less than a 6% difference – hardly enough for a reasonable margin of error.

        Even by their own admission “Due to the nature of the survey’s methodology based on individual perceptions, there are often wide contrasts in a country’s ranking from year to year.”

        Europe and North America all share the common trait of having a free press. To try to figure out who is freer is like trying to figure out which ocean is saltier.

        1. I suppose our perfectly free press is what put Judith Miller in jail for refusing to reveal her source. Journalists Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada would have been put in jail if their source hadn’t come forward under pressure.

          And that still doesn’t address any of the points I made above. To look at the events of the last week and miss the irony requires some serious blinders.

          1. You are pointing out anecdotal evidence of possible cases of abuse (I don’t know the specifics, so I can’t comment.) Just like you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a full theater and claim free speech, journalist do have to follow some laws.

            The wikileaks is a unique case because this isn’t really journalism – its just making archived data available. In this case it just so happened to be marked “secret”. We scream privacy rights for individuals, but countries need them as well.

            “Threatening espionage charges against mainstream and internet media for simply reporting on your leaked information is not a good sign of a free press.”

            Other than Assange himself, I haven’t seen in real threatening other than a little lip service. And again, this isn’t because they broke a scandal with Watergate, but they are showing secret documents that were basically stolen.

            This wikileaks thing is new and people don’t know how to respond. It is rattling cages and there is a lot of grandiose posturing out there. You can’t take this hot button, unique circumstance and toss out the 200+ years of free press. Just because there are shady deals journalist don’t know about – doesn’t mean they aren’t free to report on it.

            One should look at China or Venezuela to see what non-free press really is. Andy Rooney still walks the streets, and I find that proof enough of a free press.

            re: “Nor is cutting off the ability to fund websites posting information you don’t like, based upon illegality which has been neither specified nor proven.”

            If you are referring to pay pal, they are a private company and refuse service to who ever they want.

    3. In the light of fresh evidence, it seems that my earlier assessment of the accuracy of your assertion may have been incorrect.

    4. you either have it or don’t. There is no in between. Controlled press in any way it what we want to avoid.

  17. Zig,
    you post made me think on another angle.

    Imagine for a moment that the 250k US diplomatic cables had revealed things like
    * pressure on Kyrgzistan to reform
    * pressure on Israel to lay off Gaza, and to stop building in the occupied territories
    * under the table support for Greenpeace
    * vociferous opposition to rendition and the outsourcing of torture
    * repeated clamouring for the closure of Guantanamo
    * rejection of corporate US interests that conflict with local rights and laws
    * rejection of corporate-backed ‘copyright’ treaties
    etc., etc.

    1. Very good points, JonS. I concur.

      Something for me to ponder that is for sure. It’s honestly not something that had occurred to me previously.

      Thank you for pointing that view out to me! I appreciate it. Being challenged on ones opinions, views and outlooks and being willing to consider what is presented is the only way to learn and understand the world better. Though sometimes I can be stubborn about that…But I try. =)

  18. U.S. Government to reporters:
    Please take note of World Press Freedom Day. It will be your only day of freedom. After which, we will be coming to get you.

  19. And they say the Americans can’t do irony.

    Chris Morris would think twice before trying this stunt.

    I assume the State Department will invite every troublesome journalist along to Foggy Bottom and have them arrested as soon as they collect their badges and goody bags.

  20. If you are referring to pay pal, they are a private company and refuse service to who ever they want.

    In light of the latest statements from Paypal’s VP, and apropos of the image in the above post, I’m going to have to reply with a hearty “ORLY” to that one.

  21. “Update: After talking to Bedier backstage, he clarified that the State Department did not directly talk to PayPal and that the letter in question here was actually sent by the State Department to WikiLeaks”

    YA RLY!

  22. And what is CPJ going to do, just whore itself to this blatant attempt by US to shift attention to press abuses elsewhere?

    CPJ already ignores Assange, unlike Reporters without Borders, and has ignored some press abuse in the US. Its overseas work is exemplary but its US work is spotty.

    Alexandra Petri at Wash Post butchers Oedipus Rex to trash anyone who believes this is ironic. The subtext to her propaganda is that this announcement is not ironic because she is fully employed. Until the wolf is knocking at her desk and other desks of real journalists, aka “shield law” journalists, the insider sell out journalists, there is no press repression in the US.

    Apparently she is willing to write this stuff for her WaPo pay alone.

    What’s worse, is she is a humor writer at WaPo, the assignment being to make fun of Julian Assange, the only unfunny figure in this whole pantheon.

    What an untalented, ignorant, foolish creep she is.

    Her column: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/compost/2010/12/assange_arrest_world_press_fre.html

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