State Dept Launches 'Free the Press' Campaign While DOJ Asks Supreme Court to Force Reporter James Risen Into Jail

JENNIFER PSAKI:One more announcement for all of you: With World Press Freedom Day around the world on May 3rd, the department will launch its third annual Free the Press campaign later this afternoon in New York at the U.S. U.N. mission. Beginning on Monday and all of next week, we will highlight emblematic cases of imperiled reporters and media outlets that have been targeted, oppressed, imprisoned or otherwise harassed because of their professional work. The first two cases will be announced by Assistant Secretary -- Assistant Secretary Tom Malinowski later at the -- at U.S. U.N. And we invite you of course to follow Tom at Twitter, who has -- on Twitter who, as you all know, was just confirmed several weeks, @Malinowski and to keep up with human rights issues on DRL's website.

With that --

Q: Sure. Just on that, reporters who are, what, harassed? I'm sorry --

MS. PSAKI: Targeted, oppressed, imprisoned or otherwise harassed.

Q: Otherwise harassed. Does that include those who may have been targeted, harassed, imprisoned and otherwise whatever by the United States government?

MS. PSAKI: I'm --

Q: No?

MS. PSAKI: I think you're familiar with our Free the Press campaign, Matt, but --

Q: Fair enough. So it does not include those who might have been harassed by --

MS. PSAKI: We highlight, as we often do, where we see issues with media freedom around the world.

Q: Right, I understand. But you would say that you don't -- the U.S. does not believe that it has a problem with press freedom, or if it does, that it's not nearly as severe as the problems in other countries.

MS. PSAKI: We do not. I think we can look at many of the problems --

On media press freedom?

Oh. Go ahead. And then we'll go to you, (Paul ?).

Did you have another question on media press freedom, or --

...

Q: If I could just go back to the overall, in general, the administration does not regard attempting to prosecute American journalists as an infringement of press freedom?

MS. PSAKI: I'm not sure which case you're -- what you're referring to.

Q: Well, there's several cases that are out there right now. The one that comes -- springs to mind is the James Risen case, where the Justice Department is attempting to prosecute. I just want to be clear. I'm not trying to --

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I --

Q: I just want to know if you regard that as an infringement on press freedom or not. And I suspect that you do not, but I want to make sure that that's the case.

MS. PSAKI: As you know, and I'll, of course, refer to the Department of Justice, but the leaking of classified information is in a separate category. What we're talking about here, as you all know and unfortunately we have talk about on a regular basis here, is the targeting of journalists, the arrests, the imprisonment for simply exercising their ability to tell the story.

Q: Right. I understand that. And we're all, I'm sure, myself and all my colleagues, we're very appreciative of that.

But the reporters in question here have not leaked the information; they simply published it. So is it correct, then, that you don't believe -- you don't regard that as an infringement of press freedom?

MS. PSAKI: We don't. I don't have anything more to say on that case.

Q: OK.

MS. PSAKI: Do we have a new topic?

https://pressfreedomfoundation.org/blog/2014/04/state-dept-launches-free-press-campaign-while-doj-supreme-court-force-reporter