Last week’s announcement by Eric Holder that he will resign as Attorney General marks what will hopefully be the beginning of the end of a perplexingly dark period for press freedom in the U.S. As Holder seeks to solidify his legacy, in part based on important civil rights reforms that he helped realize, the aggression with which his Justice Department has gone after journalists and their sources bears considerable reflection. With the nomination of a new attorney general looming, now is the time for a national conversation about just what values the chief law enforcement officer of the United States should seek to uphold.
Despite his public statements about the importance of a free press, during Holder’s tenure as attorney general, the Justice Department and its component agencies — most notably the FBI - went after members of the news media with disturbing alacrity. It issued sweeping secret subpoenas for the telephone records of The Associated Press; vigorously sought to have Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter James Risen held in contempt for protecting the identity of a source; served a search warrant — illegal in most cases under a federal law that bans authorities from seizing unpublished material intended for public dissemination— for Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails; secured a federalindictment against freelance journalist Barrett Brownfor sharing a hyperlink in the course of his reporting; and enabled the bulk collection of telephony metadata andother information by the National Security Agency.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
CHINA, HONG KONG : A woman holds a placard at a large pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong on October 1, 2014. Hong Kong has been plunged into the worst political crisis since its 1997 handover as pro-democracy activists take over the streets following China’s refusal to grant citizens full universal suffrage. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE
Lou Patrick Mackay a.k.a. opawapo
One story the world cannot ignore is the slow and murderous fracturing of Iraq and Syria. In separate projects, Pulitzer Center grantees Sebastian Meyer and James Harkin have been documenting the fallout from the sudden rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Jam-Jam Manguerra, the youngest in the family, was about a year-old when her mother left for another overseas contract. She is now 7-years-old, but for most part of her life, Jam-Jam has grown up without her mother.
Image by Geric Cruz with text by Ana P. Santos. Philippines, 2014.
Pulitzer Center grantee Ana Santos’s most recent project focuses on Filipino women who leave their countries for work.