MEDIA
03/14/2014 09:28 am ET Updated Mar 14, 2014

US Makes 'Enemies Of The Internet' List For First Time

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Reporters Without Borders has added the United States to its "Enemies of the Internet" for the first time since the survey began in 2006.

The watchdog group—which had already dropped the US several places on its Press Freedom Index—cited the revelations from Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance, along with the Obama administration's actions against leaks and whistleblowers, as the primary reasons for its decision. The US joins countries such as Bahrain, Syria and Belarus. The United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Russia also made the list for the first time.

Here's part of the way RWB explained its decision:

The US edition of The Guardian is still able to publish information from Edward Snowden, while the British edition is not, but the country of the First Amendment has undermined confidence in the Internet and its own standards of security. US surveillance practices and decryption activities are a direct threat to investigative journalists, especially those who work with sensitive sources for whom confidentiality is paramount and who are already under pressure.

RWB is not the first press freedom group to criticize the Obama administration's Internet practices. The Committee to Protect Journalists recently placed "cyberspace" on its annual "Risk List" of places where press freedom is eroding.

"This year, we chose to add the supranational platform of cyberspace to the list because of the profound erosion of freedom on the Internet, a critical sphere for journalists worldwide," the CPJ said. "Violations of digital privacy by the U.S. and U.K. governments undermine their moral authority and ability to challenge other countries that restrict Internet freedom."

(h/t Poynter)

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