CMA Statement of Support for Freedom of Information

Posted by unknown - December 29, 2010 (entry 667)

CMA stands firmly in support of Freedom of information and of the publicís right to know.

This right was recognized in the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. The Act is a United States federal law that protects federal whistleblowers, or persons who work for the government who report agency misconduct. The Act recognizes the need to protect employees or applicants who disclose information that he or she reasonably believes evidences a violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; and abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

On July 26, 2010 the internet website Wikileaks, founded by Julian Assange, released thousands of secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan, documenting cover-ups, a secret assassination unit and the killing of civilians, allegedly obtained from US soldier Bradley Manning. History - in the long term - has shown, whistleblowers, such as Daniel Elsberg and Mordechai Vanunu, have performed invaluable service to their country and to the world, at great cost to themselves, by revealing documents and actions that have shown to be illegal or immoral, dangerous and deplorable.

In a nation that claims its constitution protects truth tellers, the recent outpouring of personal attacks and threats against Assange and Manning , both by highly placed governmental officials, prominent personalities, and the mainstream media, are deeply disturbing.

The nation and the people are ultimately held accountable for the actions of its government and must be apprised of its actions. The American public was promised transparency in this administration. However, the current administration is on record as pursuing and prosecuting more whistleblowers than any of its modern predecessors.

We urge that the principles of freedom of information and transparency be honored and enacted in a policy and practice of not hiding from the American people the actions of those serving the country which may violate laws or norms of decent behavior. We urge that legislation be enacted to absolutely protect the sources from governmental over-reaction, exaggerated and inflammatory accusations, intimidation and drawn out legal procedures.

In the words of Birgitts Jonsdottir, member of Icelandís parliament, ĎFreedom of information and freedom of speech are the pillars of democracy. Now, if you donít have that, you donít really have a democracy.Ē

We must protect our democracy and our freedoms by standing firmly in support of freedom of information and in support of protection of sources.

Sources:
Iceland Set to Become a Press Haven
http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0819/iceland.html

Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower_Protection_Act

Why Wikileaks Must be Protected
http://www.truth-out.org/why-wikileaks-must-be-protected62462

Wikileaks Commissions Lawyers to Defend Alleged Army Source
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/wikileaks-to-lamo/#ixzz0rjGTWzQY

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this website are those of the individual members of Chicago Media Action who authored them, and not necessarily those of the entire membership of Chicago Media Action, nor of Chicago Media Action as an organization.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.