11.01.2017 Author: Martin BergerShould We Recoin the Term Orwellian into Obamian?
After US Presdient Barack Obama’s two terms in office it gets increasingly clear for everyone that freedom of speech in the United States can be described as rigid control that the state exercises over the media and journalists, while those who refuse to cooperate with the system find themselves deprived of a chance to publish or promote their articles anywhere.
As it’s been noted in a report drafted by the former editor-in-chief of the Washington Post, Leonard Downie, since the era of Richard Nixon, no American president was as hostile to the media as Barack Obama. The report also notes that the Obama administration has been routinely spying on journalists, while punishing harshly any and all whistleblowers.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) argues that a state can hardly be regarded as a democracy if it has a DoD manual that reads as follows:
Persons authorized to accompany the armed forces are often referred to, and treated as, “civilians,” since they are not members of the armed forces. However, as discussed below, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces are also treated like “combatants” in some respects.
States may need to censor journalists’ work or take other security measures so that journalists do not reveal sensitive information to the enemy. Under the law of war, there is no special right for journalists to enter a State’s territory without its consent or to access areas of military operations without the consent of the State conducting those operations.
It should be noted that Operation Mockingbird, launched by the CIA in the 1950s, has never ceased to exist. The main objective of this operation was and still is to influence both the US and foreign media through agents that have been planted among genuine journalists. When the operation was made official, US authorities already had thousands permanent and contracted agents of the CIA embedded within hundreds of Western media outlets. and it seems that nothing has changed since those days, with the Western media spreading disinformation, producing propaganda and whitewashing anything that might harm the well-being of Western special interests.
It’s curious that in late 2016, Washington allocated 1.5 million dollars for sponsoring those people that are tasked with the mission of “inspiring the masses” in the Middle East and to “supervise media sources in the region.” Without a doubt, this money will be spent on the training of representatives of opposition media sources, which are trying to make Middle Eastern audience as pro-Washington as possible.
In this context, institutions such as the Bureau of Near East Affairs, The Office of Press and Public Diplomacy (NEA / PPD) and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs are now in search of NGOs that will present their own projects on training and cooperation with Middle Eastern media sources. The organization(s) to be employed by the above mentioned entities will operate under the direct control of US “experts”, tasked with the goal of controlling local media sources and organizing seminars and workshops for Middle Eastern journalists.