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As Press Freedoms Erode, National Press Club Urges Congress To Act On First Amendment Rights

May 6, 2010 by  

As press freedoms erode, National Press Club urges Congress to act on First Amendment rights A new poll from Freedom House—an independent watchdog organization—has found that press freedoms around the world continued to erode in 2009, and the trend has not spared the United States.

Among Western democracies Italy and the UK have been singled out for harshest criticism, the latter for its expansive libel laws that can be used to stifle critics. This has led to what observers call "libel tourism," whereby plaintiffs sue foreigners, including Americans, in British courts.

The organization also stated that the United States lacked adequate Federal protection-of-sources legislation, and media diversity was threatened by the news industry’s economic troubles.

In a related development, The National Press Club (NPC) urged the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that would discourage foreign lawsuits that limit American authors’ and journalists’ First Amendment rights.

According to the NPC, the legislation in Congress discourages the practice by making it clear that foreign libel judgments must meet American defamation standards to be recognized in the U.S.

"There is no right more precious to journalists than the ability to write and speak freely," said club president Alan Bjerga. "Congress must enact legislation that protects First Amendment rights and tells the world ‘libel tourism’ is wrong."ADNFCR-1961-ID-19758084-ADNFCR

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  • American Liberal

    Free speech, free press.. Good

    censorship : bad… Nothing else to add

    • JLC

      American Liberal, are you suggesting that we should repeal the Eighth Commandment (That will be the Ninth, in some translations of the Bible)? Look it up, before you answer — 20th chapter of Exodus. Is it not a form of censorship?

      • American Liberal

        Jlc… I’m not sure what you’re talking about…. My post said” censorship” bad…. I guesss that’s not clear enough… I mean I may not like what you say or believe…. But I’m 100% in support of your right to believe it and say it…
        Are we clear now?..and as far as the 10 commandments… I’m not a bible believer, but I support your right to believe it…and I want your religion and anyother religion out of our government…

        • JLC

          American Liberal, you obviously did not look it up, as I suggested, so I will quote it: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

          • American Liberal

            Jlc… Help me out here… I’m still trying to figureout how my post that censorship is bad has anything to do with banning any part of the 10 commandments that you believe in?.. I’m at a loss to find a connection…?

          • JLC

            American Liberal, your post said that censorship is bad! The eighth commandment “censors” one person’s “right” to lie about another. Is that bad?

          • American Liberal

            Jlc… I still can’t find a connection with your question , this artical and my post that censorship us bad…. Where you came up with me suggesting censoring the 8th commandment in your bible…..I don’t need a bible commandment to know lying is a bad thing… However I suppose people have the right to lie if they want…. We know politicians on both sides lie.. Correct?’s commonsense tlc… Now a question from me… Do you really need commandment in the bible to know lying, killing and stealing are not good?…it’s natural In my way of thinking to already know killing, stealing and lying are bad…I don’t need any book to know those things are bad..I also think your has been far more distructive than positive… You tried to use it as a tool to promote some need to feel superior with your book…

      • American Liberal

        Dale… I believe( not positve) that their use to be a law that required the media to correct itself if they found out that something they reported or wrote wasn’t true… I can’t remember the laws name… But I seem to to also remember reading that Ronald Reagan repealed the law…might have been ” the truth in broadcasting law”.. I’ll search it..

        • American Liberal

          Fox news sues for the ” Right to Lie”…..this is true….
          New world communications of Tampa, Inc
          V.S. Jane Akre. Case# 2001- 529…….

          Fox sues for right to lie….,,, and Won……
          You should read this…

          • http://?? Joe H.

            am lib,
            just remember, lies of omission are still lies!!! Ask your buddies at the MSM!!!!

          • http://?? Joe H.

            am lib,
            haven’t figured out what I meant with my last post??? Aski your favorite newscaster about not checking out sources when reporting Bushes service record! Oh that’s right! YOU CAN’T CAUSE HE WAS FIRED!!!

        • JLC

          American Liberal, there is a “Truth in Broadcasting Act of 2005.” I dont know just what it covers, but it will give you a place to start looking.

          • American Liberal

            Jlc… Thankx

  • thefedupamerican

    AWWWWWW the Liberal press is feeling put upon….even after they went out of their way to get Obama elected. I am SO SORRY for you. Maybe now you liberal elites in the media understand the way that American taxpayers feel!

    • kate8

      Obama’s entire existence is a media-propagated fiction. He is created image who was “given the ability to speak” via teleprompter.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        boy just think what would happen if someone found a way to interupt teleprompters remotely!!! Obummer would be found out in a weeks time!!! If they could get them to say what they wanted he would embarrass the party and Soreass as well!! Hilarious!!!!

  • Chris

    The Bilderbergs meet in the 1st week of June this year, These are the most powerful & richest peolple in the world, They meet every year to discuss their plan for the world, they decide which country to “Crash” next, which countries to declare war on. They decide if gasoline should be $4.00 a gallon & that their profits will sky rocket. The “Press” will be there, but they are sworn to secrecy. They will endorse our next president, & he will win, it does not matter what party he or she belongs to, as long as they know who runs the show, & they do their biddings, they will be fine, Mr Murdoc of Fox news will be there, The Rockafellars will be there, Timothy Giether will probably be there, All the Major bank CEO’s will be there, All the oil companies will be there. This many powerful people can meet every year, decide the future of the world & it is not in the press????? We havent had a “Free” Press in decades here in the USA, that is why these europeing countries think that they can sue us to stifle what is left of our 1st Ammendment, I miss Charlie Resse, Paul Craig Roberts editorials, They were black balled for telling the truth!!! I do like the editorials here that Mr. Livingston promotes, & i love the replies that everybody gives, even the Am Liberals replies. We must have open discussions from all sides of the story to keep things going truthfully. Note, They are not tryng to stiffle the press here in the USA, Corporate already owns that privilige!!! It is me & you, & folks like Bob Livingston, That they now want to put they gag in our mouths, & blind folds over our eyes!!

    • American Liberal

      Chris…. I can’t find some common and positive ground in your post… May not like the positions and politics of many of the rightwing on this site…. But if we should ever deny the right of any of us to come on this site and voice our opinions then this country is finished…good post

      • American Liberal

        Chris…typo .. Sorry, I meant to post ” I CAN” find some positive ground in your post…

        • Jeep

          AL, was that a Freudian “Typo” to Chris? LOL

    • Meteorlady

      We have had a free press in this country. Unfortunately it has grown into a media for the elite to spew their crap. You are right about them meeting – they do and will continue to do that because they are elite and they like their power over the “masses”.

      Fact is though we do have free speech and the new media knows this. They just don’t understand why they get sued for spewing nonsense, half truths and outright lies. We already have laws to protect freedom of speech – we don’t need anymore laws it would weaken us. We would not have court cases if the media would research their stories and report the truth and only the truth, maybe they wouldn’t get sued. Fact is, the press has ruined many good and honest people through their lies and innuendoes. They people that the try and ruin have sued and won, but the person whose reputation is ruined as a result of bad reporting or outright lying never recovers personally even if they win in court.

  • eddie47d

    All we have here is name calling and the defense of your point of view. So it’s really not about free speech but demonizing the other side into oblivion. There are rats in both sides of free speech as S.C. has proven with her “vile language”. She is screaming for others to shut up and listen to me. No one is that self important.All Alan Bjerga is saying is we should all speak freely without fear of being sued.Don’t worry S.C. no one is going to sue you no matter how poisonous your language is. Civility should be utmost in everyones comments.Isn’t America great!

    • Chaos Factor

      Eddie… Good post.. You said it well..

      • http://?? Joe H.

        good thing for am lib that they can’t sue!! with his vile half truths he would be broke, Oh wait he already is, he doesn’t work!!!!

    • Save America Susie

      Yes, good points Eddie47d….We sure don’t want to get to the point where we have an OFFICIAL Government Newspaper like China or North Korea, with no others allowed. God forbid! Freedom of Speech was created in our Constitution for those who DISAGREE with us, not for those who agree with us. But I agree, the same thing can be said orderly and intelligently, without all the childish name calling. Name calling is when someone is DEEPLY AFRAID that you may be right, or that your candidate is going to win. It the art of ridicule. Grasping at straws. Bo had that down pat. But we see it for what it is. Empty words that don’t really mean anything.

      Thomas Jefferson Quote:
      “Rightful Liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within limits drawn around us by the EQUAL rights of others. I DO NOT add ‘Within the law’ BECAUSE LAW is often but a TYRANT’S WILL, and always so, when it violates the rights of the INDIVIDUAL.”

      Interesting what he said about a Tyrants Will…Hmmm.

    • Dr. Mabuse

      Unfortunately, SC and her ilk are the norm here.
      The voice of reason has been stamped out by the jack boot of “Conservatism”. What a joke.

      • Meteorlady

        I’d say you have the jackboot on the wrong side of the fence. Liberalism/socialism forms of government use jackboots to keep the masses in line.

        • http://?? Joe H.

          Wasn’t it the press seccy and another dem progressive that said on the news that we would have to keep the JACKBOOT on the neck of BP????

          • s c

            JoeH, Obummer’s hack press secretary had a minor brain fart when he said ‘jackboot.’ With all those pre-programmed buzzwords flying around in their ‘brains,’ it’s just a matter of time until their true feelings slip out and get past their flapping tongues.
            Do you get the impression that Obubba’s hack press secretary is just another closet Nazi? Like Adolf, like follower, eh?

  • http://msn Dale

    The members of the National Press Club need to read the constitution and follow it. Freedom of the press is protected by the constitution, new legislation is not needed. What freedon of the press means is that you have the freedom to tell the truth not the freedom to lie. The demise of the press is of their own making, by their continual lying. People do not like to be lied to and will not voluntarily accept it. If the press want freedom to lie they need to go to a dictatorship,it will not be a freedom it will be a requirement. Before the National Press Club complains about anyone else they need to clean up their own mess.

  • chuck b

    the first ammendment if you read it correctly states: all commie liberals have the sole right to spew their left wing garbage without fear of redress, freedom of their speech, does not include conservatives.

    • JLC

      chuck b: Huh?? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Period.

    • Jeep

      JLB, I believe that Chuck B was using sarcasm…which may, or may not be protected by the First Amendment.

  • s c

    For those who claim they love free speech, they would do well to say ‘Bloomberg News’ in the same breath when they mention Alan Bjerga. Either Bjerga was misquoted, or he “forgot” to mention that true objectivity is an often-overlooked ingredient in using and protecting free speech (it’s NOT enough to write and speak freely).
    For decades, American ‘media journalists’ have pandered to those who claim to love free speech. They specialize in subjectivity (and make lots of easy money doing it), but they hate objectivity (ask Dan Rather about that). Take a good look around, folks. It’s easy to spot those who hate free speech on this website. If you want to be polite, call these space cadets weak-kneed, classic ultraliberal progressives (or useful idiots). If you’re not in a polite mood, call them whatever you want. Remember that they’re very thin-skinned, and they can’t take what they dish out [especially when they get caught with their free speech 'pants' down around their ankles].

  • Meteorlady

    Wait – now days I read an article about such and such. Then I go to other places and read about such and such. I find that as I research if you will, these such and suches, there is a great disparity in the method and means of reporting. Some places add their spin to the such and such, others tell just the facts about the such and such (but that’s few and far between), while still others just spin the such and such until the truth is gone. So censorship? WOW – thought we already had some of that going on here in the good old US. Am Lib likes to take on FOX news but I have also fact checked a lot of the others and they are just as bad and some are so much worse that’s it stupid to even read them anymore. Huffington Post is one that is pretty good at spinning a story to their way of thinking – so I don’t much believe in anything I hear or read until I get all the sides of the story and even then you may not find the truth.

    • http://?? Joe H.

      research what Obummers press secretary said about keeping the jackboot on the neck of BP. Kind of revealing about where Obummer stands on the American way!!!

  • Carol

    Barry Soetoro a/k/a BO doesn’t want the truth out there about him and all the lies he has told WE THE PEOPLE so he will do anything to shut them down and that is a fact.

  • chuck b


    do you understand fallacious

    • JLC

      chuck b: Admittedly, I speak English as a second language (as opposed to a “milk” language) but I understand “fallacious” as meaning “false,” “faulty,” or “misleading” I see nothing “false,” “faulty,” or “misleading” about a verbatim quote. Or you telling me that the First Amendment is a lie?

  • skywolf23

    as long as foreign panels, tribunals, courts, treaties, are interfearing with our individual rights and property then it is all good, oh but watch out when they try to go after the press then it is a big deal.

    welcome to the party press. about time you showed some concern to what our government is doing and letting other foreign powers do to us. bit late arent we tho?

    yes it would be nice of the government stuck to the constitution in the areas of free speech, limited federal powers, united states soveringty, federal taxation, etc etc. but since noone in d.c. gives two spits about the constitution they keep thinking we need to create more laws, more federal bureaucracies, more big government powers, and you keep getting squeezed out.

  • JimH

    News is a buisness, Papers and TV and cable networks all go for ratings and they have an agenda. News is reported and presented to sell advertizing. The higher ratings the more ads you sell. They say if it bleeds, it leads. In highschool I took a semester of journalism. We were taught to report the who, what, where, when, why, and how, objectively. I see reporters and journalists who have forgotten the basics of reporting. It is a buisness and not a service to inform the public. I would like to just get the info and be left to decide what my pointof view should be. Just tell me the unspun facts.

  • Allan

    Sorry Press…you’ve done it to yourself!…with agenda driven distortions, with sensationalism, with blatant checkbook journalism, and overmarketing of the product. You have lost most of the trust and credibility you once had, and it is probably unrecoverable. The truth is no longer the calling of your once proud profession. You have become tools for politicians, a profession you are now below in the list of America’s most respected professions.

  • http://?? Joe H.

    We have a better chance of ALL of us here hitting the big prize on the lottery than Obummer going after Soreass!!!

  • In Spire

    Imagine gathering all governing bodies globally and leading THE MOST HISTORICAL event ever known to man … introducing a WORLD PEACE & COOPERATIVE SUSTAINABLE LIFE PROGRAM … a program founded on mutual respect and a shared sense of moral purpose with an emphasis on living in peace and harmony with all others; where helping one another attain a sustainable quality of life is more valuable than personal gain … Yes, he could!

    Imagine a world-wide debt forgiveness program abolishing all debt, currency and monetary attachments. Imagine! No more money, greed, competition, debt, financial slavery … Yes, we can!

    Imagine pooling global resources, talent and technology in unified teaming opportunities for the development and global dissemination of clean energy, environmental clean-up programs, desalinization of water, efficient waste management, sustainable agricultural, healthy food production, medical cures and quality healthcare … Yes, we can!

    Imagine implementing global clean energy, high-quality housing, water, food, healthcare, and education FREE for all humanity, as wealth in all its forms, and abundance upon all levels is equally distributed … Yes, we can!

    Imagine local leadership teams consisting of Senior Councils providing overall leadership and guidance; and Junior Councils – youths between 12-24 years of age, providing leadership and mentoring opportunities for youth population … Yes, we can!

    Imagine … the most historical event ever ~ WORLD PEACE & COOPERATIVE SUSTAINABLE LIFE PROGRAM!


    • JLC

      In Spire, from what fairy tale was that plagiarized?

    • American Citizen

      Human nature gets in the way of something like that ever happening.

    • s c

      Wowie zowie, In Spire. You need some serious distance from that Cruel Aid IV bottle that’s attached to your arm. If I ever saw a chilling, pre-programmed, pc speech on this website, your feedback is it. The only thing you left out is a veiled-reference to the ‘wonders’ of Obummer.
      If you want to be useful in this world, start using that stuff between your ears (do your own thinking). Stop borrowing politically-motivated buzzwords. Keep your indoctrinated pals at a distance.
      You sound like a grade school kid who’s trying to please mommy and daddy and whatever passes for a ‘teacher’ at your “illuminated” school.
      No gold star for you.

    • Jeep

      Oh, I got one!

      Imagine being the guy that holds the gun to the heads of those that are forced to work towards this utopian society, since all your other “imaginings” will require someone to build the green crap, housing and grow the food without recompense.

      Yes we can!

  • http://gmail i41

    In spire, that pipe dream sounds like the theiving UN and the socialist democrats plan. Some simple minded pee brain, like Omoron will appoint some socialist thug to decide who makes what and how much. Or are you a imbred cousin of the Lib? I guess it is past your mental capisity to just get a job and support your self. That peace and love crap has worked so well, with N Korea, Iran and several African countries. Omoron said he would meet Alli Babba in Iran and he wasted 15 months, but is it one of his inbred muslim rejects half brothers. We keep giving Kim Puke Ill goods and help the nut job out all the way to the bank. You moronic democrats will screw around, waste money, send us down the sewer for a pansy phony dream just like Greese and their unions and welfare programs. I bet you are a green weanie, climate change, head in the clouds, by your socialist comments. Needle head and his thugs cann’t think of away to get things moving, but will not go after the FDR, Clinton housing planss for the melt down, a lazy dorks to have a shack, even if they not working, or to stupid to pay attention. Now we will have more drugs and problems becasue the dems cannt and don’t know squat about the illegals bankrupting our country. Of coursw Omoron and his close Chicago goons need to make a little under the table, walk around money. The health care, get a job and get off you butt. Green energy is a farce, din’t work for Spain, will not work here because greeniys, don’t want to put in transmission lines, how in the hell are people going to drive electric putt-putts, not every one lives in the city and you simple idoits cann’t feed yourself, it takes diesel to build roads, farm, run trains, build structures, unless you want a mud hut. We could be energy indepent,USA has plenty of crude right here in the USA, if the pus gutted politians would let us drill in the interior, instead of out in the ocean ,use our coal we have the most of anyone, cleaner than Chinas, we have more oil than all the middle east in one pool, over 2 trillion barrels of oil. The second has over 503 billion barrels of crude ready to hook up to a pipe line but, you numnutted greeies have a fit a snake might get crunched or a mouse might break a toe nail. But that is the bull, that is taught in schools and colleges bu door knob professors like Omoron.. Never meet a socialist green moron that wasn’t a democrat and thinks senery can feed people, how ficking stupid and simple minded, the more education, the dumber in common sense. Phd stans for Perfectly Happy and Dump!!!

    • Jim H.

      i41, I thought PHD was Piled Higher and Deeper.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        Jim H,
        It’s obvious that am lib has a PHD! Person High and Dumb!!!!!

  • Peter

    I saw an add for, I believe, the Boston Globe. There were several reporters commenting on their jobs. Some of the comments were ( para-phrasing) ” I can empower the powerless”, ” At the end of the day we can change the world” etc… Reporters are supposed to report the news. Today the create the news. Perhaps if they went back to reporting what they see and not inventing what the think will entice their readers, maybe they would place themselves in a less liable position. Opinion pieces and editorials are in a different category but they should be labeled as such.

  • Earl, QUEENS, NY

    I find this hard to understand. If you’re temporarily residing in a country such as the UK, then you’d want to be careful what you say or write; obviously to avoid lawsuits. But if you’re in America, aren’t you protected by U.S. law and the 1st Amendment??

    In addition to not being able to falsely yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater, we know the 1st Amendment has some limits. I.e. when I’m at the checkout counter at the supermarket, and I see all those goofy periodicals on the shelf, all I can think is: If they wrote that about me, I’d sue the jerks!! Likewise, we do know that leftwing liberals lie (in ways too numerous to mention here) about us – conservatives, tea partiers, etc. And of course, we read many comments from such liars here on this website!!

    All things considered, I agree with those here who say we should not pass more laws, but enforce our 1st Amendment rights. Especially with the leftwing radical regime in the current Congress and White House, many of whom want to stifle their opponents on talk radio, Internet, etc. LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT TH EPROPOSED “FAIRNESS DOCTRINE” FROM LIBERAL DEMOCRAPS!!!! We know of their double standard – it’s okay for the leftists to lie about us, but they don’t want to hear us refute their lies or give our opinion about their morally bankrupt leftwing socialist agenda. Thus let us not ask any favors of THIS CONGRESS!!

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Most of the entertainers figure that to sue only gives creedence to the filth!!

  • American Citizen

    A big problem is reporters writing opinion pieces as factual news. Or taking pieces of truth and making whole cloth out of it that if you were present at the event or happening, you wouldn’t recognize it as what you saw or experienced.

    • Jeep

      …or, just making up “service records” about the president and reporting it as real…or, saying your a war hero from Vietnam, and the msm goes with the story…apparently corroborating evidence is a luxury, and not a necessity.

  • s c

    Alan Bjerga, get a brain transplant. Progressives, go @#^* yourselves. Congress, grow a spine and act like you occasionally give a damn about doing your job.
    We DON”T need more LAWS. Make our twisted, pathetic, sons-of scum in Washington ENFORCE laws that already EXIST! Have you never heard of the CONSTITUTION? Isn’t it obvious that most of our ‘leaders’ never read it and don’t want to understand it?
    New laws that deal with the First Amendment will make it weaker. It will make a bloated, worthless government stronger. Use your heads, Americans.
    When people start screaming about the need for MORE laws, it’s time to single out those weasel bastards for whatever seems right.
    While you’re at it, ask the people in ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, NEW MEXICO and TEXAS about a @#*^ government that REFUSES to enforce laws that ALEADY EXIST!

  • William Nealey

    S C. you prety well covered it. the only thing I can add is those scumbgs who call themselves journalist seem to be worried about freedom of the pres. well the crapp those liberal left leening scumbags for the most part shouldn’t be put into print anyway. the most of them seem to want the 2nd ammendment abolished. they dont realise the 2nd amendment is the only reason they still have the 1st amendment,

  • American Liberal

    Sc… No worries… I understand your Challenged when it comes to being able to make a valid point….. You better take your blood pressure medications

  • s c

    Like it or not, Bloomberg is a filthy RICH yahoo who managed to get elected. Bloomberg is neither a conservative nor a Republican (though he acts like a RINO on occasion).
    Will Obummerbama include Bloomberg in his ‘soak the rich’ scheme? I haven’t seen one politician who has
    gone out of his way to really ‘soak’ the rich.
    If this prez doesn’t go after Bloomberg, then Obummerbama is just another hack politician who chases easy votes with worn-out slogans. What standards progressives have, eh?
    One of Obummerbama’s main problems in ‘soaking the rich’ is in determining which rich so-and-so is ‘good’ and which is ‘bad.’ Like a true progressive, Obummerbama thinks rich progressives are OK, but all other rich people are ‘bad.’ That’s like saying the truth is OK only as long as it ‘works’ for him.
    My, oh my. No wonder progressives have so much trouble with basic concepts like freedom, truth,
    character, ethics, integrity, hope, change and transparency. That pesky English languge so often gets in Obummerbama’s way. And then there’s that Constitution.

  • Meteorlady

    Well put. Obama should go after Soros if I follow your point but Soros spent millions getting him elected so he qualifies as “good” even though he is the scum of the earth in his business dealings.

  • chuck b


    i was trying to be fallacious, apparently it didn’t work. what i was getting at is: the liberals think the 1st amm. is to be interpreted by their understanding and the conservatives only lie.

  • JLC

    No offense taken/

  • JLC

    chuck b — I think that the word that really wanted was “facetious.”

  • chuck b


    you are right. thank you


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