The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the Obama administration's media investigations on two fronts on Tuesday.
The CPJ board sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole protesting the Justice Department's secret probe into the Associated Press. The board--whose members include Christiane Amanpour, Lara Logan, Tom Brokaw, Victor Navasky, Michael Massing and the Huffington Post Media Group's editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington--said that it was doing something rare:
Our board of directors rarely has seen the need to raise its collective voice against U.S. government actions that threaten newsgathering. Today, however, we do see that need: We write you to vigorously protest the secret seizing of phone records of The Associated Press. The overly broad scope of the secret subpoena and the lack of notification to the AP by the Justice Department represent a damaging setback for press freedom in the United States.
The CPJ added that the Justice Department had "set a terrible example for the rest of the world, where governments routinely justify intervention in the media by citing national security." The letter also demanded, as the AP has, that any materials obtained in the DOJ probe be returned immediately to the AP. (Read the full letter here.)
In a separate release, the CPJ said it was "alarmed" at the Justice Department's secret investigation into Fox News reporter James Rosen.
"U.S. government efforts to prosecute leakers by obtaining information from journalists has a chilling effect domestically and sends a terrible message to journalists around the world who are fighting to resist government intrusion," CPJ head Joel Simon said in a statement.