Journalists Face Most Deadly and Dangerous Period in Recent History

Originally published on April 29, 2015, at NationofChange.org

According to a report released on Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) found that terrorist groups and governments have made recent years the most dangerous period to work as a journalist. Targeted by both terrorists and national security agencies, journalists across the world have been subjected to kidnapping, torture, murder, government surveillance, censorship, and imprisonment. As Islamic State continues releasing videos of beheaded reporters, the number of journalists detained in jails worldwide has more than doubled since 2000.

In its annual global assessment of press freedom, Attacks on the Press: Journalists caught between terrorists and governments, the CPJ reported that the incessant war on terror has escalated the risk to journalists’ lives as many of their murders remain unsolved. With the advent of mass electronic surveillance, journalists must now employ extreme countermeasures in order to protect the identities of their sources and often succumb to self-censorship while working in abject fear of arbitrary detention.

“From government surveillance and censorship to computer hacking, from physical attacks to imprisonment, kidnapping, and murder, the aim is to limit or otherwise control the flow of information—an increasingly complicated effort, with higher and higher stakes,” wrote CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in the review’s foreword.

In the U.S., the National Security Agency (NSA) is attempting to gather every piece of electronic communication sent or received. With the government recording our phone conversations, email archives, cell-site location, metadata, online activity, and GPS, reporters also have to contend with roving bugs and surveillance cameras in order to protect their source’s identity. Without employing surveillance countermeasures such as encryption tools and clandestine meetings, journalists can no longer guarantee the anonymity of their sources. The Obama administration is also responsible for aggressively prosecuting whistleblowers that provide information to reporters.

Continue reading

Advertisements

LinkedIn Pays Nearly $6 Million in Labor Violations and Damages

Originally published on August 6, 2014, at NationofChange.org

In violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, LinkedIn Corp. has paid $3,346,195 in back wages and $2,509,646 in damages to 359 former and current employees. An investigation led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division exposed LinkedIn’s failure to record, account, and pay all hours worked including overtime wages. LinkedIn agreed to pay the back wages and liquidated damages in order to prevent repeat violations.

“Off-the-clock hours are all too common for the American worker. This practice harms workers, denies them the wages they have rightfully earned, and takes away time with families,” said Susana Blanco, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco. “The department is committed to protecting the rights of workers and leveling the playing field for all law-abiding employers.”

Continue reading