Bloomberg Law reports:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to monitor hundreds of thousands of news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists, editors, foreign correspondents, and bloggers to identify top “media influencers.”
It’s seeking a contractor that can help it monitor traditional news sources as well as social media and identify “any and all” coverage related to the agency or a particular event, according to a request for information released April 3.
The data to be collected includes a publication’s “sentiment” as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum, and circulation. No value for the contract was disclosed. DHS agencies have “a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners,” it said
Every day, journalists face serious consequences including physical violence, imprisonment and death. A few days ago, the Committee to Protect Journalists launched its annual Free The Press campaign to raise awareness about imprisoned journalists throughout the world.
On May 3, UNESCO will once again mark World Press Freedom Day “to inform citizens of violations of press freedom — a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.”
Meanwhile, the United States government, traditionally one of the bastions of press freedom, is about to compile a list of professional journalists and “top media influencers,” which would seem to include bloggers and podcasters, and monitor what they’re putting out to the public. What could possibly go wrong? A lot.
The DHS spox is trying to quell the uproar.
Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media. Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists. https://t.co/XGgFFH3Ppl
— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) April 6, 2018
— RTDNA (@RTDNA) April 6, 2018
"The United States government… is about to compile a list of professional journalists and 'top media influencers,' which would seem to include bloggers and podcasters, and monitor what they're putting out to the public."https://t.co/8E4Of0jjiV
— Maureen Shaw (@MaureenShaw) April 6, 2018