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Report: Government Spying Causing Self-Censorship, Privacy Fears Among US Writers

Posted on 13-Nov-2013
Topics: Freedom of The Press  

From CBS DC:

In the wake of revelations about intrusive government surveillance, many American authors are worrying about the freedom of the press and some simply are avoiding controversial topics.

A new report from the PEN Center and the FDR Group entitled “Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor” finds that 85 percent of surveyed writers are worried about government surveillance of Americans, and nearly three-quarters (73 percent) “have never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today.”

Sixteen percent of writers have avoided writing or speaking about certain topics due to threatening privacy concerns, and an additional 11 percent have seriously considered such avoidance.

Writer comments included statements such as, “I assume everything I do electronically is subject to monitoring.”

Another responded, “I feel that increased government surveillance has had a chilling effect on my research, most of which I do on the Internet. This includes research on issues such as the drug wars and mass incarceration, which people don’t think about as much as they think about foreign terrorism, but is just as pertinent.”

...

Nearly a quarter of the writers surveyed (24 percent) reported deliberately avoiding certain topics in phone or email conversations, and an additional 9 percent have seriously considered such action. A small portion of respondents said they had even declined opportunities to meet with people deemed “security threats by the government” because of privacy fears.

Sources:

[1] "Report: Government Spying Causing Self-Censorship, Privacy Fears Among US Writers", Benjamin Fearnow, CBS DC, 12-Nov-2013

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