Investigative journalism and the secret state are natural enemies. Even with an enlightened government and relatively untroubled times, their relationship will be uneasy at best.
Today, they’re in a state of undeclared war. Surveillance states and most of their fellow travellers are in too deep to pull back voluntarily. Some will be uneasy about how far things have gone but changing one’s mind is never a comfortable business, particularly if it has to be done in public.
Those opposed to overly intrusive and secret surveillance need to figure out the best ways to increase that uneasiness and offer palatable means for players to defect. The playing field needs to once again be tilted towards openness as the primary operating principle. To do that, unearthing secrets, valuable though it may be, is not enough.
It’s exactly these issues that Jay Rosen takes up in this recent piece at Pressthink.
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There is considerable discussion of the detention of David Miranda and the lines are forming up.
On one side, those who seem to hate Glenn Greenwald and would probably justify any action against him or his partner, short of throwing them into Gitmo!
“Readers know I have been grappling for a while with the vexing question of the balance between the surveillance state and the threat of Jihadist terrorism. When the NSA leaks burst onto the scene, I was skeptical of many of the large claims made by civil libertarians and queasily sympathetic to a program that relied on meta-data alone, as long as it was transparent, had Congressional buy-in, did not accidentally expose innocent civilians to grotesque privacy loss, and…
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If it wasn’t already obvious that the U.S. government is targeting journalists as part of its ongoing war on leaks, it should be fairly clear now that Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald’s partner has been detained for nine hours in a British airport and had all of his electronics seized by authorities looking for classified documents like the ones Greenwald got from former CIA contractor Edward Snowden. More than anything, this kind of behavior highlights the value of having a stateless, independent media entity such as WikiLeaks.
And if that wasn’t enough, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has written about an almost unprecedented effort by British authorities to force the newspaper to stop reporting on the government’s surveillance of its citizens — including the seizure and destruction of hard drives at the newspaper’s offices and warnings about future action if the reporting continues. Rusbridger said the paper will continue its work, but…
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