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Licensing Journalists? An interesting take on Wikilinks fall-out

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posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 03:12 PM

An interesting paragraph from this column.

TextThis is why so-called shield laws -- giving protection to whistle-blowers by giving journalists some immunity from orders to disclose them in most cases -- can be pernicious. When they attempt to define who the journalists are, as opposed to what qualifies as journalism, they inevitably lead toward this: The government, or its agent, decides who qualifies as a bona fide journalist.

Seems that should Wikilinks/Assange go on trial for espionage that the most logical line of defense will be a First Amendment defence and the possible identification of Wikilinks as a news/media outlet. Wouldn't it be interesting if the PTB, decided to let this one slide (the cow having left the barn and all) in exchange for the future ability to register and label journalists, thus further controlling access and more easily facilitating future crackdowns?

Definitely one to watch.

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 03:29 PM
reply to post by RobertAntonWeishaupt
Why should one Amendment to the Constitution be any better than another?

I have to have a license to carry a firearm. Why not have a license to be a journalist?

At least a journalist can make a living writing stories, no one will pay me to protect myself and my family.

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 03:35 PM
Interesting thought OP. However, I do not believe that the US could impose media licensing onto foreign news outlets. But, they could certainly do such a thing to US media, which may prevent them from even reporting on things that are "sensitive" to national security.

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 03:43 PM
reply to post by butcherguy

2nd Amendment is beside the point in this particular case, though licensing is technically a violation of the 2nd Amendment.

The difference is that real journalism is vital to the maintenance of an informed citizenry. It is the front line in the battle against tyranny, while firearms should only be looked upon as a last resort.

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 03:44 PM
reply to post by RobertAntonWeishaupt

Many jurisdictions such as Washington DC require you already to register for a district licensed press pass if you wish to be recognized in DC events as a journalist. I know this because when I was part of the now defunct ATS press corp, my ATS issued press pass wasn't accepted in several events. The complicated and hindering application process requires, amongst other things, one to show several examples of published work and final approval is at the caprice of the police dept. This of course is a major hinderance to virtual/blog and citizen journalism ... in fact it seems precisely set up to this end.

As far as the idea of requiring a license for all journalist there are many fundamental problems with the idea, including the definition of a journalist, the people's right to report the truth they witness without labels and restrictions, and many others. It is by all definitions a Gatekeeping strategy!

Slippery slope fallacy notwithstanding, soon enough posting on the internet would require a state issued license.

edit on 9 Dec 2010 by schrodingers dog because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 03:46 PM
reply to post by Aggie Man

There would be a grey area. If they can not license foreign journalists, they would still be able to limit access to licensed professionals. Or, as this article suggests, use a person's lack of state-issued credentials as grounds to disregard shield laws which protect anonymous sources. Granted, the First Amendment is not exclusive to the press, it applies to all citizens. Case law and legal precedent have, however, established additional protections specific to journalism.

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 03:59 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

There are more than a few problems with the idea. It is fundamentally evil. It would be a logistical nightmare to implement, unless it is something that has been drawn up and planned for years. It would absolutely be a gatekeeping measure and as I mentioned earlier, a stellar way for the government to decide who can take advantage of shield laws and the like.

Again, not an imminent possibility, but should Assange be prosecuted here it will be interesting to watch how his defense plays out in this regard.

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 04:17 PM
This is just sick. Fact of the matter is that citizen journalism is the future. Anyone can start reporting news they're interested in. No need for educations, tests or licenses. Journalism is the people.
for this idea.

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