The Free Press and the Fake Press

On World Press Freedom Day, Amnesty International celebrates "the mighty blog" as having "profound implications for press freedom and human rights." The organization states, "People in Iran and China have used blogs to expose violations by their governments and provide the outside world with information." Yet, in both countries, "the authorities have increasingly targeted bloggers to stifle dissent." According to Freedom House's annual survey, "the United States has suffered 'notable setbacks' in press freedom," slipping to 24th of 194 countries. One reason is "a number of legal cases in which prosecutors sought to compel journalists to reveal sources or turn over notes or other material." Another is the paid pundit and video news release controversies. Such fake news "may be even worse than poisoning public debate on specific issues," said communications professor Martin Kaplan. "It corrodes the ability of real journalism to do its job."