“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” Thomas Jefferson, 1786
Liberty, if Jefferson is to be believed, is nearly lost around the world.
In Morocco, for example, journalist Ali Anouzla was arrested because a story he wrote linked to a story in Spain’s El Pais newspaper that, in turn, contained a link to a video allegedly uploaded by someone supposedly associated with the al-Qaeda branch known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Anouzla’s connection to terror is tenuous at best. It is the prosecutorial equivalent of a signature strike: A missile is fired at a target not for what the target did, but because they are near a place where people have associated with people who have demonstrated questionable behavior at some point in the past — allegedly.
Anouzla’s case is not unique, unfortunately. And more distressing is the irrefutable fact that the U.S. government under the control of President Barack Obama has set the international standard for the persecution of the press.
Consider, for example, the recent attempts by the U.S. Congress to officially decide who qualifies as a journalist.
In September, during committee hearings on a bill aimed at protecting journalists from having to reveal their sources, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) offered an amendment that would have limited the protection to those reporters who conformed to her own narrow definition of a journalist.