Obama: Troubled by probe against journalists

Washington, May 24: Troubled by the recent probe into activities of journalists by the Department of Justice, US President Barack Obama has said that he has asked the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, to meet media outlets to listen to their concerns and report to him by June 12.

 "I'm troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable," Obama said on Thursday in an apparent reference to the recent cases of the Justice Department seeking phone records of journalists and media outlets like the Associated Press and Fox News.

Strongly arguing he believe that the US must keep information secret that protects the country, Obama, in his counter-terrorism speech expressed his determination to maintain the freedom of press in the country, especially for investigative reporters.

"The Justice Department's investigation of national security leaks offers a recent example of the challenges involved in striking the right balance between our security and our open society. As Commander-in-Chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field," Obama said.

"Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law. And that's why I've called on Congress to pass a media shield law to guard against government overreach," Obama said, adding that he has raised these issues with the Attorney General, Eric Holder, who shares his concerns.

"So he has agreed to review existing Department of Justice guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters, and he'll convene a group of media organisations to hear their concerns as part of that review. I've directed the Attorney General to report back to me by July 12," he said.

Obama, while expressing the importance of free press, also underlined the challenges involved with it.

"To do so, we must enforce consequences for those who break the law and breach their commitment to protect classified information. But a free press is also essential for our democracy. That's who we are," he said.

Obama also assured that his administration would continue to try to find the government employees responsible for leaks.

"Now, all these issues remind us that the choices we make about war can impact -- in sometimes unintended ways -- the openness and freedom on which our way of life depends. And that is why I intend to engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing," he said.

Posted by Unknown on 13:08. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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